In more food news....Health Canada is expanding its consumption advice related to mercury in fish to include advice for specific groups on eating canned albacore tuna.
While Health Canada has a standard for mercury in fish that is among the most stringent in the world, occasionally some fish products may exceed this standard and therefore Health Canada has provided consumption advice for some groups. Today we are updating this advice. However, Canadians can rest assured that there is no reason to stop eating canned tuna.
Data collected by both Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency over several years have shown that levels of mercury in most canned tuna are well below Health Canada's standard. Levels in canned albacore tuna are higher than levels in other types of canned tuna, but are generally below the standard as well. Health Canada's standards for mercury in fish and consumption advice are based on overall dietary exposures; occasional consumption in excess of the recommended amount will not put the average consumer at risk.
As a precaution, Health Canada is providing the following advice.
- Women who are or who may become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding can eat up to four Food Guide Servings of canned albacore tuna each week. One Food Guide Serving is 75g, 2 ½ oz, 125 mL, or ½ cup.
- Children between one and four years old can eat up to one Food Guide Serving of albacore tuna each week.
- Children between five and eleven years old can eat up to two Food Guide Servings of albacore tuna each week.
It is important to note that canned albacore tuna is not the same as canned light tuna. Canned light tuna contains other species of tuna such as skipjack, yellowfin, and tongol, which are relatively low in mercury. Canned light tuna also tends to be lower in cost relative to albacore tuna. Based on lower mercury levels, Health Canada does not consider it necessary to offer any consumption advice specific to canned light tuna.
Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide recommends at least two Food Guide Servings of 75 grams (½ cup) each week of fish. Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout.
Health Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, will continue to monitor the levels of mercury in fish available for sale in Canada and will inform Canadians about any changes to its advice related to fish consumption and mercury.
More information is available at:
Health Canada's Mercury Information page.
It's Your Health on Mercury and Human Health.
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