Women and children should avoid eating certain fish

Pregnant women and those intending to become pregnant in the near future and children under the age of 16 should avoid eating shark, swordfish and marlin due to fears of mercury poisoning, a UK government agency has warned.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has completed a survey that reveals that there are relatively high levels of mercury in the three types of fish. The mercury comes from a combination of both natural and man-made sources, a FSA spokesperson told edie, and are not confined to any region in particular.

Occasional consumption of shark, swordfish or marlin as part of a balanced diet by other adults is unlikely to result in harmful effects, says the FSA. However, as a precaution, the Agency advises that people should eat no more than one portion each week.

Last year, the US Government warned that one in ten women of child-bearing age are at risk of having children with neurological problems due to mercury poisoning (see related story).

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