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Friday, January 28, 2011

Picking the Reel Deal…Making Healthy Seafood Choices

By: Nan Jensen, FCS Agent

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. In addition to being a source of high quality protein, they are low in saturated fat and some varieties contain omega-3 fatty acids. Including seafood as part of a well-balanced diet can contribute to heart health and support children's growth and development. While seafood can be a healthy choice, it is important to pay attention to safety. Buy from a retailer who follows proper food handling practices. Make sure the place where you purchase your seafood looks and smells clean. Handle and store it safely when you arrive home. If you don’t plan to use it in a day or two, freeze it for later use.

Another safety consideration is the amount of mercury in some species of fish. Pregnant moms, those considering getting pregnant and moms who are nursing should avoid shark, swordfish, King mackerel and tilefish. Shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish are good low mercury alternatives.

Finally, as you make your seafood purchases, choose species that are abundant, well-managed and caught or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Marine Stewardship Council can help you with your choices.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Provides information about safely selecting and storing seafood


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