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Feds tweak advice on pregnancy, eating fish

– The Food and Drug Administration is updating its advice for pregnant women on the appropriate levels of mercury in seafood, but FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said Friday it won’t require mercury labels on seafood packages.

Hamburg said the agency will update guidance on mercury in different varieties of seafood and what that means, a long-awaited move aimed at helping women better understand what to eat when they’re pregnant.

“It’s an advisory, not an effort to mandate labeling,” Hamburg said. “Different seafood products do contain different levels of mercury, and so different seafood products can be rated in terms of levels of mercury.”

For most people, accumulating mercury from eating seafood isn’t a health risk. But for a decade, the FDA has urged that pregnant women, those who may become pregnant, and young children avoid certain types of high-mercury fish because of concern that too much could harm a developing brain.

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