Warning on eating tuna issued

The Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency will recommend Friday that pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children eat no more than six ounces of albacore tuna or about one meal's worth each week, administration officials said.

Albacore tuna, often sold as canned white tuna, accounts for more than 5 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States, according to the F.D.A. Recent tests have shown that albacore tuna has higher levels of mercury than other kinds of tuna. Mercury is known to affect neurological development of fetuses and young children.

The new guidelines will say that young children and women who are pregnant, nursing or planning to become pregnant can eat up to 12 ounces per week of light tuna, which has less mercury and accounts for about 13 percent of the nation's seafood consumption. The agencies will continue recommending that those groups limit their intake of shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, which can also have high levels of mercury, inform &to=http://www.nytimes.com' target=_blank>NYTimes.com

A recent European Food Safety Authority study undertaken by its Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain has shown that its chemical form, methylmercury, is prevalent in all fish and can build up to significant levels in large predatory fish as these fish consume smaller species that have taken up mercury in the environment.

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