Needless Fish Warnings Not Good ‘Science,’ Not ‘In The Public Interest’

Food police confuse soft polling with hard science about mercury
July 12, 2006

The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) this week called on the Food and Drug Administration to dismiss a demand for new warning signs at grocery-store fish counters.


"While the self-styled “food police” at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) base their latest complaint on a public opinion poll about mercury in fish, CCF has actually tested the fish Americans are eating - and found no reason for warnings", CCF said.

Working with an independent laboratory, CCF tested the mercury levels of 142 fish samples from 36 retail stores in the Washington, DC area - including grocery stores frequented by employees of both CSPI and the Food and Drug Administration.


According to the FDA’s own published standards, every single fish CCF tested was safe to eat. The results are detailed in Safe Fish, a report published just two weeks ago.

Safe Fish also details how organizations like CSPI, Oceana, Greenpeace, and others are hiding crucial information from the public, including the ten-fold safety cushion built into the federal government’s existing mercury advisories. The FDA and EPA base their mercury advice on a hyper-precautionary standard -- just ten percent of the lowest level associated with any known health risks.

“If CSPI were really interested in protecting consumers,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko, “it would be giving Americans three simple words of advice: Eat More Fish. It’s really that simple. Mothers and mothers-to-be already have enough to worry about. Fish is a health food, and CSPI’s fear-mongering is what drives women away from fish counters.”

Martosko continued: “CSPI’s call for warning signs where ‘brain food’ is sold only adds to the general confusion Americans have about meaningless traces of mercury. If CSPI wants to eliminate this confusion, it should be conducting real science, not polling the man on the street.”

Try CCF’s mercury-fish calculator