The farmed salmon industry has hailed new Food Standards Agency advice which pushes up the recommended weekly intake of oily fish from one portion to four portions a week for men and boys.
The advice is welcome backing from the agency after media alarmism over dioxin levels earlier this year.
Scottish Quality Salmon chief executive Brian Simpson said: “This is a vindication of our robust positive stance earlier in the year when faced with spurious criticism from anti fish-farming campaigners who showed no qualms about misusing scientific data to mislead the public.
“The health benefits of regular consumption are many
and proven. The sad fact is that at the moment, two-thirds of the UK population doesn’t eat oil-rich fish at all. Our message is, if you don’t at the moment, start eating oil-rich fish.”
General manager of Shetland Salmon Farmers’ Association,
David Sandison, said: “It is incredible that actual salmon consumption is far below earlier recommendations.”
And Seafish said the advice was welcome news for the herring sector.
The FSA said that the new advice related to maximum levels at which the health benefits of preventing heart disease clearly outweigh the possible risks from dioxins.
Women of child bearing age, however, should eat two portions a week.
On average, people in the UK eat a third of a portion of oily fish a week, and seven out of 10 don’t eat any at all.
The FSA asked expert advisers in 2003 to examine the evidence about the risks and benefits of eating oily fish.
FSA chairman Sir John Krebs said: “This extensive review of the scientific evidence has reduced the uncertainty about how many oily fish people can safely eat in a week without the benefits being outweighed by the risks.”