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EPA-FDA Advice about Eating Fish and Shellfish

Photo of three women's pregnant bellys

EPA and FDA provide advice on eating fish and shellfish. Fish and shellfish provide protein, are low in saturated fat, and have nutrients that help children’s growth and development. As part of a healthy eating pattern, eating fish may also lower the risk of heart disease-related deaths and obesity. However, as a result of natural processes and human activity, fish also contain mercury in the form of methylmercury. Methylmercury can negatively affect the central nervous system, particularly the developing brain of a fetus.

The agencies have concluded that the following people should eat more fish that is lower in mercury for important developmental and health benefits:
  • Women of childbearing age (about 16-49 years old)
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Young children

The most recent version of the advice, issued in July 2019, includes additional information about the benefits of fish as part of healthy eating patterns and promotes the science-based recommendations of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The advice recommends that women and children eat two to three servings (8-12 ounces for adults and children over age 10, smaller amounts for younger children) of a variety of fish and shellfish each week. The advice includes a chart showing how often to eat more than 60 types of fish and shellfish, as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.

EPA and FDA encourage consumers, health professionals, educators, and retailers to print, post, and share the fish advice. We have provided print-friendly downloads for your convenience. You can also share the message on social media using this toolkit.

Previous Version of Advice (2017)

More information for those who want to understand the data and calculations that underlie the advice is available:
Before releasing it, the agencies sent the advice through peer review.