Making the dangers of swordfish more obvious

February 1, 2013

I have never written a letter to the editor about an article in the Food section before, but the Jan. 23 article “Living by the sword” can’t go unchallenged. Sure, those omega-3 fatty acids are great, and swordfish is healthy if you’re a man or a woman who isn’t pregnant or breastfeeding and you don’t eat it too often. But doesn’t the risk of mercury to children, pregnant women and nursing moms deserve to be mentioned at the start of this long article, rather than in one of its last sentences?

Mercury in large fish, including tuna, is a very serious problem because these fish would otherwise be of great nutritional benefit to everyone. According to the Food and Drug Administration, as high as the mercury levels are in albacore tuna, the levels in swordfish are dramatically higher.

Until mercury contamination is brought under control, it is important for Post reporters to be clear on the risks to many readers and their family members, whether writing for the news section or the Food section.

Diana Zuckerman, Washington

The writer is president of the National Research Center for Women & Families.

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