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National Fisheries Institute Calls Recent Mercury Study "Fraudulent"

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 9:34am

WASHINGTON D.C. (NFI) — The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is asking all local news outlets to correct a fraudulent story that recently aired about mercury levels in seafood exceeding guidelines. Following is NFI's statement and supporting data:

"The Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) recently misled the public on the safety of commercial seafood. It presented itself as an organization that was qualified to advise the public on health matters and it presented its data as scientific fact. The statistics that were reported never stood up to the rigor of clinical peer-review and were never published in any journal. The data presented is the opinion of BRI, a wildlife organization, that readily admits is 'responding to strong public interest and governmental negotiations of a mercury treaty by the United National Environment Program (UNEP).'

"The USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages everyone to eat at least two fish meals a week, especially pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. This advice is based on the review of scores of published peer-reviewed scientific research.

"Ten species of fish — including shrimp, salmon, canned tuna and tilapia — account for 90 percent of the seafood Americans eat and all are low in mercury.

"Many environmental activist organizations try to conflate mercury pollution with scant traces of naturally occurring mercury found in all ocean species of fish. Suggesting that pollution has increased mercury levels in commercial seafood to unsafe levels is tantamount to screaming 'fire' in a crowded theater.

"Not eating the minimum recommended amount of seafood is the second-largest dietary contributor to preventable deaths in the United States (according to a peer-reviewed Harvard study) —costing 84,000 lives each year. Discouraging a fish-rich diet by manufacturing fear is the real harm, and groups like BRI should be held accountable by the media and not given a platform from which to broadcast skewed rhetoric."

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