SIA responds to “The Immune Response to Influenza is Suppressed by the Synthetic Food Additive and Nrf2 Activator, tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ)”, by Michigan State University, researchers Robert Freeborn et al.
Seafood Industry Australia (SIA), the national peak-body representing the seafood industry, has urged Australians not to get swept up in false claims that eating fish and chips could impact the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine.
“These claims are simply not true,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.
“Rest assured, there is absolutely no reason to stop enjoying fish and chips this winter.
"Sadly, the media has once again misreported a story, having little regard for the impact on the seafood industry.
"The study by Michigan State University found mice which were given the preservative tBHQ commonly found in processed or frozen meats and cooking oils, had an altered immune response that could possibly impact the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. This study has not been conducted on humans.
“Clearly, the issue lies with cooking oils containing tBHQ in this study on mice. I am baffled as to why the media are not warning people off an array of fast food, including the popular Chiko roll. Why single out fish and chips?
“Stories like this only serve to create fear among the millions of Australians who eat seafood as part of their healthy, balanced year-round diet.
“In fact, eating seafood as part of a balanced diet can actually help fight off the flu. Prawns and oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help to reduce inflammation, along with vitamin B12, which is a powerful immune booster. So, in this case a dish of garlic prawns may be just what the Doctor ordered.
"Right now, false vaccine claims are spreading like wildfire and it is irresponsible for the media to make the more than six million Australians who will get the flu vaccine this winter feel unsure of their decision, or to question their choice of eating seafood.
“Australia’s commercial fishers work hard to provide consumers with healthy, sustainable, local seafood and it is unacceptable for false reporting to undermine the important part seafood plays in a balanced diet.
“Australians are lucky to have some of the healthiest, most sustainable seafood in the world right on their doorstep. This winter, consumers can feel confident in the choices they make about their health and diet, and 'Ask for Aussie seafood'.”