Gulf seafood

Even though the owner of my favorite local bistro assures me the seafood they serve is safe, she’s not sure where it’s from. I know she’s only repeating what her seafood purveyor tells her — and he’s only repeating what the fishermen are telling him. All I know is, I’m still not ready to eat anything from the Gulf:

A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses “a significant danger to public health.

It’s a high-stakes tug-of-war that will almost certainly end up in the courts, with two armies of scientists arguing over technical findings that could have real-world impact for seafood consumers and producers.

Citing what the law firm calls a state-of-the-art laboratory analysis, toxicologists, chemists and marine biologists retained by the firm of environmental attorney Stuart Smith contend that the government seafood testing program, which has focused on ensuring the seafood was free of the cancer-causing components of crude oil, has overlooked other harmful elements. And they say that their own testing — examining fewer samples but more comprehensively — shows high levels of hydrocarbons from the BP spill that are associated with liver damage.

“What we have found is that FDA simply overlooked an important aspect of safety in their protocol,” contends William Sawyer, a Florida-based toxicologist on Smith’s team. “We now have a sufficient number of samples to provide FDA with probable cause to include such testing, really. They need to go back and test some of their archived samples as well.”

2 thoughts on “Gulf seafood

  1. Check out Florida Oil Spill Law for continuing coverage of the BP disaster. I hate to say it, but yes, if you can’t be sure where the shrimp is coming from, don’t eat it. They’re still finding oil down there, and that’s before we get to the Corexit and what’s on the seafloor.

  2. well she should be able to tell, and maybe she needs to pay more attention. for shellfish, her supplier is required to have a tag of origin, and she is required to keep those tags for 90 days in case there was any contamination. but there is no law requiring her to share any of the info with you.

    as for repeating what they’re told…it’s not that simple. seafood has very strict requirements all along the supply chain. all seafood has to have a country of origin tag, with dates and methods of processing. for u.s. seafood, i’m not sure about the requirements saying what state it’s from, but it shouldn’t be so hard to find out. because the usda has to be able to follow the entire chain from harvest to consumer. i suppose it’s possible that some random fishermen are lying but the risk to processors is so great, i don’t see it as something to worry my pretty little head about.

    btw, very little seafood we get here is from the gulf, if any. i have never personally seen it. 80% of seafood eaten is this country is imported anyway, so odds are against it at any rate.

    ironically enough, there was quite a controvery in the south over seafood labeling, because restaurants advertised gulf shrimp and catfish when it’s been imported. eh, maybe not so much now.

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