Nutrient Relationships In Seafood: Selections To Balance Benefits And Risks

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Food and Nutrition, Public Health
Board: Food and Nutrition Board

Activity Description

Seafood contributes a variety of nutritional benefits to the American diet. They are sources of protein, calcium, iodine, copper, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, some nutrients may affect bioavailability, toxico-dynamics, and target-organ transport, and thus affect the toxicological response to certain compounds.

Contamination of marine resources, however, whether by naturally-occurring or introduced toxicants, is a concern for US consumers because of the potential for adverse health effects. Human exposure to toxic compounds through seafood can be managed by making choices that provide desired nutrients balanced against exposure to such compounds in specific types of seafood that have been found to pose a particular health risk.

Consumers, particularly subpopulations that may be at increased risk, need authoritative information to inform their choices. This study produced a report that recommends approaches to decision-making for selecting seafood to obtain the greatest nutritional benefits, balanced against exposure to potential toxicants and identifies data gaps and research needs.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Institution (NOAA) requested that the Institute of Medicine convene a 12-member ad hoc committee and produce a report that:

  • Identifies and prioritizes the potential for adverse health effects from both naturally-occurring and introduced toxicants in seafood
  • Assesses evidence on availability of specific nutrients in seafood compared to other food sources
  • Determines the impact of modifying food choices to reduce intake of naturally-occurring and introduced toxicants on nutrient intake and nutritional status within the US population
  • Develops a decision path for US consumers to balance their seafood choices to obtain nutritional benefits while minimizing exposure risks
  • Identifies data gaps and recommends future research                                                                                          


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