Fish consumption behavior and rates in native and non-native people in Saudi Arabia

Joanna Burger, Michael Gochfeld, Zenon B. Batang, Nabeel Mannalamkunnath Alikunhi, Ramzi Aljahdali, Dalal Hamad Al-Jebreen, Mohammed A M Aziz, Abdulaziz M. Al-Suwailem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Fish are a healthy source of protein and nutrients, but contaminants in fish may provide health risks. Determining the risk from contaminants in fish requires site-specific information on consumption patterns. We examine consumption rates for resident and expatriates in the Jeddah region of Saudi Arabia, by species of fish and fishing location. For Saudis, 3.7% of males and 4.3% of females do not eat fish; for expatriates, the percent not eating fish is 6.6% and 6.1% respectively. Most people eat fish at home (over 90%), and many eat fish at restaurants (65% and 48%, respectively for Saudis and expatriates). Fish eaten at home comes from local fish markets, followed by supermarkets. Saudis included fish in their diets at an average of 1.4±1.2 meals/week at home and 0.8±0.7 meals/week at restaurants, while expats ate 2.0±1.7 meals/week at home and 1.1±1.1 meals/week in restaurants. Overall, Saudis ate 2.2 fish meals/week, while expats ate 3.1 meals/week. Grouper (Epinephelus and Cephalopholis) were eaten by 72% and 60% respectively. Plectropomus pessuliferus was the second favorite for both groups and Hipposcarus harid and Lethrinus lentjan were in 3rd and 4th place in terms of consumption. Average meal size was 68. g for Saudis and 128. g for expatriates. These data can be used by health professionals, risk assessors, and environmental regulators to examine potential risk from contaminants in fish, and to compare consumption rates with other sites. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-148
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - Jun 11 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KAUST/MoA 228211
Acknowledgements: This research was funded by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to KAUST (KAUST/MoA 228211), with additional funds to JB and MG from EOHSI, NIEHS (P30ES005022), and Rutgers University. The support and assistance extended by the KAUST Administration and CMOR staff are deeply appreciated. We thank also the many people who have discussed these topics with us, or who have helped in the research, including R. Schoeny, A. Stern, D. Carpenter, N. Ralston, M. Lemire, D. Mergler, S. Silbernagel, E. Silbergeld, E. Groth, C. Chess, C. Jeitner, T. Pittfield, and M. Donio. We also gratefully acknowledge the logistical help provided by C. Jeitner. The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and do not represent the funding agencies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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