NFI unveils push touting seafood's health benefits

WASHINGTON: The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is working with its members to promote October as National Seafood Month in an effort to emphasize to consumers the health benefits of eating seafood.

WASHINGTON: The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is working with its members to promote October as National Seafood Month in an effort to emphasize to consumers the health benefits of eating seafood.

"Rather than a large advertising campaign that our small staff would not be able to handle, we have found other ways to help get the message out there in very targeted, specific, and creative ways," said Stacey Viera, director of public affairs for NFI.

Through AboutSeafood.com, the NFI, which represents all parties in the fishing food chain from vessels to seafood restaurants, is educating consumers about eating fish at least twice a week with a searchable recipes database and fun fish facts for kids.

The site offers a section called "Ask the Dietitians" that provides tips from Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss, the authors of a column called "Meal Makeovers" for Nick Jr. magazine and authors of a number of books addressing how to make over meals to make them healthier. Visitors to the site can contact the Meal Makeover Moms for advice about giving fish to kids.

The NFI has also been working with Edelman on media relations and producing pamphlets that its members can send to consumers. The pamphlets include a wallet-size guide to how fish taste and one on how seafood benefits different parts of the body.

"We want to get the most accurate and up-to-date scientific information to our members and consumers," said Viera. "Seafood consumption is continuing to rise. Hopefully, as people get more serious about incorporating healthy foods into their diet, we will see that trend continue to rise."

Viera said the NFI also intends its Web site and mailings to help consumers understand what how to decipher studies that may arise about eating fish and its relationship to one's health.

The trade group has also worked with Wegmans grocery stores on creating cooking and preparation tips for seafood for consumers. The tips can be found on both Wegmans' and the NFI's Web sites.

"During grilling season, we started to get a lot of questions about how to grill fish and how to season," said Viera. "So, we created a grilling tips sheet with Wegmans that was great."

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