Safe Eating Guidelines

fish imageFish from all sources can contain contaminants, so making informed decisions about your consumption of both store-bought and locally-caught fish is important. You should consider all sources of fish in your diet when making choices about eating fish. If you are pregnant, planning to be pregnant, breastfeeding or have children, you and your children need to be more careful about the kinds of fish you eat and how often you eat fish.

By following these guidelines, you can reduce your exposure to the contaminants in fish, help reduce your health risks, and still get the benefits of eating fish.

Statewide Safe Eating Guidelines — are based on mercury and PCB levels measured in fish throughout Minnesota and on levels of mercury found in commercial fish. Not all waters in Minnesota have been tested for contaminants in fish. But the Safe Eating Guidelines can be used for both tested and untested waters.

Site-Specific Guidelines — are available for lakes and rivers where fish have been tested for contaminants. These guidelines are based on the contaminant level measured in the edible portion. These consumption guidelines are also searchable by lake on the Department of Natural Resources Lake Finder website. For the tested lakes and rivers, fish may contain higher- or lower-than-average levels of mercury or PCBs, and the resulting meal advice will be either more or less restrictive than the Statewide Safe Eating Guidelines.

Commercial Fish Consumption Advice is available from the Minnesota Department of Health and from the federal government for women (of childbearing age) and children for commonly eaten commercial fish species.

Also, see Tips and Proper Cooking and Cleaning Recommendations.

Updated Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 10:47AM