Mercury in fish - how much is too much? Plus a handy guide.
Many of my clients are asking about how much fish is ok to eat in their diet. Many ask due to the concerns over mercury in fish. So let me break it down for you.
FSANZ report that Australian's can safely eat 2–3 serves a week of most types of fish. However, because of the presence of higher levels of mercury in some fish there are a few types you should limit in your diet, especially if you are pregnant.
What about during pregnancy?
Pregnant women, women planning pregnancy and young children should eat shark (flake), broadbill, marlin and swordfish no more than once a fortnight and should not eat any other fish during that fortnight.
Orange roughy and catfish should be eaten no more than once a week, and no other fish should be eaten during that week.
What about the rest of us?
The general population should also only eat shark (flake), broadbill, marlin and swordfish once per week and no other fish that week.
The named fish may contain more mercury than other species because they are long living fish and/or predators and can accumulate higher levels of mercury by eating other fish.
What is Mercury?
Mercury is an element found both naturally and as an introduced contaminant. It tends to affect the nervous system, and the developing nervous system in the unborn baby is particularly sensitive to mercury. However, it’s important to remember the unborn baby is generally only exposed to low mercury levels through its mother’s diet.