Salmon Redux and New Dietary Guidelines

A couple of days ago we noted that a new health scare is on the horizon, one linked to the discovery of a class of flame-retardant chemicals called PBDEs in salmon. An article in the August 12 Wall Street Journal confirms our interpretation.

The article notes that the expert panel charged with revising and updating the current Dietary Guideline for Americans will likely advise that consumers eat two servings of fish per week. What type of fish? Fatty fish that are rich in heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids -- fish such as salmon and trout. Thankfully, the panel hasn't fallen prey to the recent spate of hysteria fomented by activists about supposedly carcinogenic compounds like PCBs and PBDEs discovered in salmon (for more about trace levels of chemicals in foods, see ACSH's booklet on the topic).

The new Guidelines will be sent first to the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, and then released to the public for a thirty-day comment period. Hopefully, this recommendation on fish will remain in the final version.

Ruth Kava, Ph.D, R.D., is Nutrition Director of the American Council on Science and Health. Also see a FactsAndFears piece on the dispute over salmon in the pages of Science and a piece on the latest omega-3 fatty acids study.