Public Health Triumphs Over Fishy Activism

Napoleon Bonaparte famously told his army to never wake him for good news, “because with good news nothing presses.” Napoleon never met the United States government, whose rare good-news day is usually cause for serious celebration. Today is a great example. The Washington Post reports that the Food and Drug Administration favors rolling back the government’s ill-advised seafood warnings, which are aggressively promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency and a variety of activist fear mongers. If the plan becomes policy, the next FDA/EPA seafood advisory you see just might read: “We were all wrong. You should eat more fish.”
We haven’t seen the FDA’s report yet, but the Post has. Apparently, it argues for an immediate reversal of a reckless 2004 advisory that urged limiting (or avoiding entirely) the consumption of certain seafood because of trace levels of mercury. This, of course, turned out to be a colossal error. Our recent investigative report, titled "Tuna Meltdown," found that more than a quarter-million underprivileged children were born at risk of having abnormally low IQs because of this wrong-headed government advice and the activist group warnings that followed.
The entire medical literature contains absolutely zero mercury-poisoning cases related to Americans eating commercially sold fish. Not one. And the neurological and cardiovascular benefits of eating large amounts of fish are well known, especially for pregnant women and their unborn children. The FDA’s new report, writes the Post, argues “that nutrients in fish, including omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and other minerals could boost a child’s IQ by three points.”
We’re telling the media today that FDA’s about-face is both long overdue and a huge public-health victory: “This just might be the best Christmas present health-conscious Americans could hope for.”
Predictably, some activists are disoriented by the triumph of science over their fringe agendas. The Environmental Working Group, for example, called the report “astonishing” before resorting to playground name-calling. Why is good news for consumers bad news for activists? Simple: When the only thing you sell is food fear, consumers who understand that their lunch is safe are simply bad for business.
We shouldn’t let scare campaigns obscure the truth about seafood. We’d like to think that Napoleon, who loved fish so much he ate them with his hands, would make an exception to his "good news" rule today.

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