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Seafood Choices: Balancing Benefits and Risks
ancillary benefits and countervailing risks that may affect the risk reduction actually achieved through a risk management option. In the case of designing guidance to consumers on selecting seafood, there is a suite of benefits and risks that needs to be simultaneously targeted and considered. The target of analysis is the overall effect of seafood selection and consumption decisions, and not reduction of a specific risk or enhancement of a specific benefit. For this reason, the construct of ancillary benefits and countervailing risks is not applicable.
For Step 1 of the three-step process, the committee developed the approach of benefit-risk analysis to design consumer guidance on balancing benefits and risks associated with seafood consumption, shown in Box 5-1. The approach points to the types of information needed to improve benefit-risk decisions. An expert judgment technique is one approach to this task, given the uncertainty in the data that supports the evidence on benefits and risks. In its deliberations, the commmittee adapted a four-part protocol based on previous work (IOM, 2003) to complete Step 1, scientific benefit-risk analysis, in the process of designing seafood guidance.
Part A. Identify and determine the magnitude of the benefits and risks associated with different types of consumption for the population as a whole and, if appropriate, for specific target populations.
Part B. Identify the benefits and risks that evidence suggests are important enough to be included in the balancing process used to develop consumption guidance for the population as a whole and, if appropriate, for specific target populations.
Part C. Evaluate changes in benefits and risks associated with changes in consumption patterns. The magnitude of the changes depends on the magnitude of exposure to specific agents, either nutrients or contaminants, and how the magnitude of the response varies in relation to changes in intake or exposure.
Part D. Balance the benefits and risks to arrive at specific guidance for healthy consumption for the population as a whole and, if appropriate, for specific target populations.
Part A. Identify and Determine the Magnitude of the Benefits and Risks
The committee identified the range of benefits and risks that the evidence suggests are important to balance in developing seafood choice guidance. The nutritional benefits of seafood include: it is a source of protein that is low in saturated fat, and contains several essential micronutrients, especially