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Food Standards Agency

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Your guide to oily fish

Friday 17 February 2006

oily fish in can

A guide to oily and non-oily fish types and information about safe maximum consumption levels, based on what lifestage you are at. Remember, we should all try and eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily.

Oily fish: who should eat what?


 
Oily fish
White fish
Tinned tuna**
Marlin, shark, swordfish
Girls (under 16)
Up to 2 portions* a week
No limit
No limit on tinned
Do not eat
Boys (under 16)
Up to 4 portions a week
No limit
No limit on tinned
Do not eat
Pregnant women and those who may become pregnant
Up to 2 portions a week
No limit
Up to four medium-sized cans
Do not eat
Breastfeeding women
Up to 2 portions a week
No limit
No limit on tinned
Up to one portion a week
Women who are not intending, or can't become pregnant
Up to 4 portions a week
No limit
No limit on tinned
Up to a portion a week
Men
Up to 4 portions a week
No limit
No limit on tinned
Up to a portion a week

*A portion=140g
** Fresh tuna counts as oily fish, but tinned tuna as white because the oils are lost in the canning process

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What's an oily fish?

We've compiled a list to help you differentiate between types of oily and non-oily fish.


Oily / fatty fish
White / non-oily fish
Salmon
Trout
Mackerel
Herring
Sardines
Pilchards
Kipper
Eel
Whitebait
Tuna (fresh only)
Anchovies
Swordfish
Bloater
Cacha
Carp
Hilsa
Jack fish
Katla
Orange roughy
Pangas
Sprats
Cod
Haddock
Plaice
Coley
Whiting
Lemon sole
Skate
Halibut
Rock Salmon/Dogfish
Ayr
Catfish
Dover sole
Flounder
Flying fish
Hake
Hoki
John Dory
Kalabasu
Ling
Monkfish
Parrot fish
Pollack
Pomfret
Red and grey mullet
Red fish
Red Snapper
Rohu
Sea bass
Sea bream
Shark
Tilapia
Turbot
Tinned tuna
Marlin

Recent surveys have shown that some other fish and crab may also have similar levels of dioxins and PCBs as oily fish. These fish are: sea bream, turbot, halibut, dog fish or huss, and sea bass.

Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should consider choosing a wider variety - eating less crab and these five species, and more that have lower levels of pollutants, such as red snapper, haddock, coley or hake.

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