A proposal to encourage eating of fish to promote a healthier lifestyle is becoming a political issue in the final months of the Bush Administration, reports the Associated Press.
A long-standing government recommendation that pregnant women and children limit their intake of fish because of the possibility that they may also consume harmful amounts of mercury is being reconsidered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the wire service reports.
This has evoked intra-agency controversy, with the Environmental Protection Agency challenging the scientific accuracy of the FDA's 270 page draft of a study concluding that the health benefits of fish consumption outweigh the possibility that a dangerous amount of mercury would be ingested.
Environmental groups are upset as well, the AP reports. Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, issued a statement: "The FDA was once a fearsome protector of the public health. Now it's nothing more than a patsy for polluters."
Not surprisingly, the food industry is supportive of the FDA's study. One lobbying group, the Center for Consumer Freedom, told the wire service that it "just might be the best Christmas present health-conscious Americans could hope for."