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Fish oil and PCBs

(article, Culinate staff)

Back in March, a California lawsuit alleged that fish-oil supplements contain PCBs and should be more accurately labeled. The prob? Packaging that claims PCBs have been removed from the supplements, versus independent lab tests revealing much higher levels of PCBs.

PCBs — shorthand for polychlorinated biphenyl — are toxic. Production was banned in the U.S in 1979, but because PCBs are a persistent pollutant, they're pretty much everywhere — in beef, chicken, and dairy products as well as fish.

What to do? Well, there are other ways to get those valuable omega-3s into your diet. Skip the supplements from big, predatory fish, such as cod and shark; since PCBs travel up the food chain, they accumulate more in bigger, older fish. Grab the supplements made from smaller fish, such as mackerel, anchovies, and sardines. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon also test low in PCBs. And avoid supplements made from fish liver, which is where toxins concentrate; buy those made from whole pressed fish or fish flesh instead.