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Seafood Choices: Balancing Benefits and Risks
nated biphenyls (PCBs) vary considerably among different types of seafood, with relatively higher levels found in fatty compared to lean fish. There is limited available data on levels of DLCs and PCBs in seafood and terrestrial animal products, but levels in seafood may on average be comparable to or higher than those in red meat and full-fat dairy products (IOM, 2003). Risks from microbiological hazards will vary, largely according to handling and preparation methods (e.g., consuming raw rather than cooked seafood).
Part B. Identify Important Benefits and Risks in the Balancing Process
Although some guidance applies to all groups, e.g., general nutritional benefits and microbial risks, a key conclusion of the committee’s deliberations is that the evidence in regard to the benefits and risks associated with seafood consumption varies in important ways across target populations. Thus, guidance should be tailored to these populations. Equally important is that everyone in the population be covered by specific guidance.
Given the current evidence reviewed in this report, decisions about seafood consumption for the general population consuming commercially available seafood fall into four target populations: (1) females who are or may become pregnant, and those who are breastfeeding; (2) infants and children up to age 12; (3) adolescent males, adult males, and females who will not become pregnant; and (4) adult males and females at risk for coronary heart disease. During the committee’s initial deliberations, adult males and females with a history of coronary heart disease were considered as a separate target population. However, recent evidence suggests that the guidance for these persons is not different from that for adult males and females at risk of coronary heart disease.
The committee recognizes that there are additional groups of consumers for whom guidance must be further tailored, such as subsistence and recreational fishers. However, designing guidance for these groups requires further separate, specific analyses of benefit and risk impacts. As noted in Chapter 4, to date there is little known about the impact of high seafood consumption, beyond that previously reported on neurological development in fetuses and young children. The committee decided there was insufficient evidence to set an upper limit on the amount of seafood consumed each week by the general public, except where research supports such recommendations.
Part C: Evaluating Changes in Benefits and Risks Associated withChanges in Consumption Patterns
The committee conducted several analyses to evaluate and understand changes in benefits and risks that may be associated with changes in con-