The safety of seafood from the Gulf Coast has been questioned since the first days of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and no conclusive answers have been forthcoming.
NOAA and several labs have pronounced Gulf Coast seafood safe – containing oil chemical content well below the FDA and EPA levels for safe consumption – but gulf coast fishermen are still complaining about their inability to sell their catch due to fears of oil contamination.
Some labs disagree with NOAA while a well-known Alabama lab erroneously claims the oil was all consumed by microbes.
Now seafood from other sources is being questioned.
In a report on November 18, the TODAY program, NBC made claims that imported seafood had been found to be contaminated with a variety of chemicals due to the laxity of processing methods in other countries and due to the inability of the FDA to test each and every load of imported seafood. The report also claimed that seafood from fresh water was inherently “cleaner” than farm raised seafood in the United States.
On November 18, 2010, the Pensacola News Journal reported on the latest public forum held by the Escambia County Commission, local BP representatives, officials from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services scientist Ron Webb said the department has tested 174 seafood samples from the Gulf. None contained contaminants in “levels of concern,” though a few have tested positive for trace amounts of petroleum compounds, Webb said.
“We will be testing and sampling for the next three years with a $10 million grant from BP,” Webb said.
The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau made the following announcement in a press release on November 18, 2010.
Nationwide Restaurants and Media Team Up To Boost Demand for Gulf Seafood and Restore Perceptions
NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 18, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — On December 1st, more than 150 chefs and restaurants in cities across the country will participate in the first “AMERICA’S NIGHT OUT FOR GULF SEAFOOD” to promote the safety of Gulf seafood in light of the BP oil spill earlier in the year.
All of the participating restaurants will be serving a special dish that includes either fish, oysters, shrimp or crabs from the Gulf of Mexico, which supplies nearly half of all the country’s seafood.
“AMERICA’S NIGHT OUT FOR GULF SEAFOOD” is intended to show that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat and is the most scrutinized and tested seafood in the entire world.
The special “night out” is also meant to honor the thousands of Americans and their families in the Gulf seafood industry who are now back to work, fishing the Gulf waters for the most succulent catches.
For more information: www.neworleansinfo.com
Despite the flood of BP’s money that is being spent on research and seafood promotion, the only reality is we do not know what is safe to eat and what is not.