A recent Truluck's promotion intended to celebrate customers' joyous events could send anxious mothers-to-be into a nutritional tizzy.
Through tomorrow, the Uptown seafood restaurant is offering free stone claw crab appetizers to women who show their servers a sonogram performed that day. But shellfish consumption is a touchy topic among the newly pregnant, who've often been exposed to conflicting information about seafood.
"I'm not forcing anyone to eat anything," says operations partner Bo Dorton, who emphasizes the deal isn't intended to draw expectant mothers into a restaurant they might otherwise avoid for nine months. "We are not, by any stretch, trying to imply it's OK to eat seafood."
But scientists and physicians who have the right to weigh in on such matters are increasingly encouraging women not to forgo fish during pregnancy. Research released in 2007 showed women who skimped on fish during their pregnancies were far more likely to have children with behavioral, motor skill and verbal problems.
According to the Washington Post, Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, was aghast when he learned his female relatives planned to purge fish from their pregnancy diets.
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"I said, 'No, no, no, you have to eat fish,'" Rimm told the paper. "There's so much more benefit than risk."
The known risks pertain primarily to predatory fish with high levels of mercury, large game fish contaminated with chemicals and raw fish infected with bacteria. Most experts agree crab is OK, but Dorton says the restaurant will gladly provide a different appetizer for concerned customers who qualify for the giveaway.
The deal is part of an ongoing series of promotions, most of which aren't the least bit controversial. The restaurant's previously awarded free food to customers who could produce traffic tickets excused by judges or receipts showing they'd purchased a hybrid car. Truluck's has more "good thing happens" promotions planned, but Dorton couldn't recall which one was up next.
"We have a slew in the hopper," he says.