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Br J Nutr. 2012 Jun;107(12):1812-22. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511005010. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

A risk-benefit analysis approach to seafood intake to determine optimal consumption.

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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety, Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire, 27-31 Avenue du Général Leclerc, F-94700 Maisons-Alfort, France.


Seafood provides n-3 long-chain PUFA (n-3 LC-PUFA), vitamins and minerals, which are essential to maintain good health. Moreover, seafood is a source of contaminants such as methylmercury, arsenic and persistent organic pollutants that may affect health. The aim of the present study was to determine in what quantities seafood consumption would provide nutritional benefits, while minimising the risks linked to food contaminants. Seafood was grouped into clusters using a hierarchical cluster analysis. Those nutrients and contaminants were selected for which it is known that seafood is a major source. The risk-benefit analysis consisted in using an optimisation model with constraints to calculate optimum seafood cluster consumption levels. The goal was to optimise nutrient intakes as well as to limit contaminant exposure with the condition being to attain recommended nutritional intakes without exceeding tolerable upper intakes for contaminants and nutrients, while taking into account background intakes. An optimum consumption level was calculated for adults that minimises inorganic arsenic exposure and increases vitamin D intake in the general population. This consumption level guarantees that the consumer reaches the recommended intake for n-3 LC-PUFA, Se and I, while remaining below the tolerable upper intakes for methylmercury, Cd, dioxins, polychlorobiphenyls, Zn, Ca and Cu. This consumption level, which is approximately 200 g/week of certain fatty fish species and approximately 50 g/week of lean fish, molluscs and crustaceans, has to be considered in order to determine food consumption recommendations in a public health perspective.

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