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Before You Buy Fish - Check for Mercury


Display of fresh fish on supermarket counter
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The risk of mercury poisoning by eating seafood is real -- if you eat a lot of fish or seafood, as I do. Pregnant women and young children are especially at risk and should avoid the fish on the top level of this list, and severely limit their consumption of the next level. I try not to eat more than one or two meals per month of fish and seafood from the top two levels. That means go easy on the tuna! The source3 for this data is the US EPA.

Fish with the Highest Levels of Mercury


  • King Mackerel
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Shark


Fish and Seafood with Mid-Range Mercury Levels


  • Tuna (all varieties except skipjack)
  • Orange Roughy
  • Marlin
  • Grouper
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Chilean Seabass
  • Bluefish
  • Lobster
  • Weakfish (sea trout)
  • Halibut
  • Sablefish
  • Striped Bass or Rockfish


Fish and Seafood with Low Mercury Levels


  • Snapper
  • Monkfish
  • Carp
  • Freshwater perch
  • skate
  • Canned light tuna (skipjack)
  • Spiny lobster
  • Jacksmelt
  • Boston or Chub Mackerel
  • Croaker
  • Trout
  • Squid
  • Whitefish
  • American shad
  • Crab
  • Scallop


Fish and Seafood with Very Low Mercury Levels


  • Catfish
  • Mullet
  • Flounder, fluke, plaice, sand dabs
  • Herring
  • Anchovies
  • Pollock
  • Crayfish
  • Haddock
  • Sardine
  • Hake
  • Salmon
  • Oyster
  • Tilapia


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