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No better time to champion the health benefits of seafood

By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
November 01, 2006

I was relieved to see the government finally put some muscle behind its advice that Americans should eat seafood at least twice a week. Environmentalists have claimed for years that methylmercury exposure from seafood consumption puts consumers at risk and have warned people to cut back on their intake of the protein. But on Oct. 17 both the Institute of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health released studies lauding seafood's health benefits and downplaying the risk of mercury exposure (see cover Newsline).

Now the seafood industry has to take the good news and run with it. There's no better time to arm your sales force, your waitstaff or counter staff with this positive story about seafood. Don't wait until your customers ask about seafood's role in a healthy diet; provide your staff with talking points and a flyer or brochure for shoppers who are on the run. It doesn't take a huge marketing effort to educate your employees and 
customers.

There will always be critics of government advisories and policies, but the NGO statements regarding the studies - one of which was released even before the two press briefings were held - were ludicrous. The groups switched the announcements' focus from seafood and health to fit the NGO sustainability agenda, which is reprehensible.

Don't these folks see that if Americans just ate a little bit more seafood they could reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease? Studies that tout the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in seafood seem to appear weekly. Take advantage of this perfect marketing opportunity now, because you never know when the next anti-seafood campaign will begin.

On a final note, with this issue of SFB we bid farewell to Managing Editor Linda Skinner. Linda has been with Diversified Business Communications for more than three decades. She started with the company as advertising production manager for National Fisherman in 1973, and soon moved into the editorial department, starting as editorial assistant and working her way through the ranks to managing editor of both NF and SeaFood Business , and editor of SFB and the Seafood Handbook . SFB has maintained high editorial standards because of Linda's "professional nitpicking," as she likes to refer to her work. Whenever a question arose over content, grammar or style, Linda would inevitably have the answer, or at least know where to find it. She has worked with many editors during her years at Diversified, and I'm sure all would agree there is no finer person to work with. Thank you, Linda, for your dedication to the magazine and the industry. We're going to miss you.

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