About this Site
A balanced diet is important to the health of your baby both before delivery and while nursing.
Charles Santerre Ph. D., a former professor of food toxicology at Purdue University in the Department of Foods and Nutrition, has worked with experts across the country to develop sound scientific advice for pregnant or nursing individuals, so that they can make informed decision when consuming seafood.
This advice is not to be used instead of seeking guidance from your primary care physician and dietician. Your primary care physician and dietician will provide critical information for you to ensure that you and your baby are properly nourished.
Fish for your HealthTM advice is intended to be an additional resource and was developed with the hope that this advice will reduce confusion from news stories concerning seafood safety.
Questions that you will find answers to include:
- How much fish should I eat each week?
- What are the health benefits for my baby if I eat fish?
- Which fish should I avoid due to pollutants?
- Which fish are highest in nutrients?
- Is it safe for me to eat raw fish while I’m pregnant?
- Are raw fish safe for my infant to eat?
- What about the fish we catch from a local river, is it safe to eat?
- Should I take a fish oil dietary supplement?
- How can I safely choose fish when I’m shopping at the local grocery or when ordering in a restaurant?
Explore the website & printable card
Here you will find a list of fish that are best choices to eat and which will help to keep your baby healthy. The overall goal of this information is to encourage individuals, including those that will become pregnant, those that are pregnant and those that are nursing to make informed decisions about the fish that they eat. These resources can help parents choose fish and shellfish that are good sources of healthy fats and low in environmental pollutants like mercury.
Please let us know if you are not able to access any of the Fish for your HealthTM resources by visiting the Contact Us page.
We currently have a limited number of downloadable advice documents in Spanish and for those who follow a Kosher diet.
Charles Santerre is a former professor of Food Toxicology in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. His research involves food toxicology and nutrition. Dr. Santerre is responsible for leading the team of hard working students and staff for over a decade resulting in the development of the Fish for your HealthTM resources. He was also a Jefferson Science Fellow with the National Academy of Sciences and a full member of the Society of Toxicology and served as a Senior Policy Advisor for agriculture and health in the White House. Dr. Santerre is currently the CAFLS Director of Ag Policy Development and Professor in the Food, Nutrition and Packing Science Department at Clemson University. He received a B.S. degree in Human Nutrition and a Ph.D. degree in Environmental Toxicology and Food Science, both from Michigan State University.
Charles Santerre continues to have an active role with the Fish for your HealthTM initiative in an advisory capacity.
Chef Carl Behnke is currently an associate professor in the White Lodging-J.W., Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism at Purdue University. His areas of expertise are food service operations and food safety. He provided instruction videos on cleaning and preparing fish and recipes for the first version of the Fish for your HealthTM website. You can still find his recipes on the most current version of this website.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) works with stakeholders, researchers, and partners throughout Illinois, Indiana, the Great Lakes region and the Midwest by supporting research and providing education and outreach to recreational anglers, boaters, charter boat fisheries, educators, seafood consumers and aquaculture producers. IISG’s fisheries and aquaculture programming is focused on community resilience and sustainability. The IISG program covers topics like water safety, climate readiness, seafood consumer education and aquaponics in schools, to name just a few topics, and include resources for aquaculture producers and K-12 educators. Fish for your HealthTM resources were transferred to IISG in 2020.
Purdue FNR develops and disseminates new science-based knowledge about natural resources including aquaculture, interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and effects of pollutants, to name a few examples. Recent aquatic research included a meta-analysis of the effects of exposure to microplastics on fish and aquatic invertebrates and assessing the effects of “forever chemicals” or PFAS, on amphibians.
University of Illinois Extension, a part of the nationwide Cooperative Extension System, is the flagship outreach effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. U of I Extension offers educational programs on energy and environmental stewardship, food safety and security, economic development and workforce preparedness, family health, financial security, and wellness, and youth development.
The Great Lakes Fresh Fish Finder is a regional project team composed of Sea Grant extension staff, science communicators, fisheries specialist and aquaculture specialists from Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York. The goal of the Great Lakes Fish Finder project is to connect consumers with regional harvested fisheries and farm raised aquaculture products- local foods.
The current Fish for your HealthTM website and resource revisions and upgrades were supported by the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) and National Sea Grant. This work was funding by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant number 2018-38500-28887, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and 2020-38500-32560 and NOAA funding source number NA22OAR4170100.