United Nations food experts have concluded that food consumers should eat even less mercury than is currently considered safe for human health.

The Joint Expert Committee for Food Additives and Contaminants (JECFA) has recommended reducing the intake of methylmercury from 3.3 micrograms per kilogramme to 1.6 micrograms per kilogramme of body weight per week to sufficiently protect foetuses, which can be exposed through contaminated food eaten by pregnant women.

It noted that some fish species, such as swordfish and sharks, are the most significant source of methylmercury in food. As a result, the committee said when providing advice and setting consumption limits, public health authorities "should keep in mind that fish play a key role in meeting nutritional needs in many countries."