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Mega Oily Fish and Food Safety – Unwanted BP Food Additives

Posted Jun 15 2010 9:05am

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it is increasing its efforts to ensure the safety of fish and seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the FDA have released a joint statement outlining how they plan to tackle seafood safety issues related to the ongoing oil spill in the region. Specifically, the plan includes precautionary closures of fishing areas, increased testing of seafood samples, and a protocol for reopening affected areas of the Gulf.

Undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco said: “Closing harvest waters that could be exposed to oil protects the public from potentially contaminated seafood because it keeps the product from entering the food supply.”
The FDA said that it would initially concentrate on increased sampling of oysters, crab and shrimp, which retain contaminants in their bodies longer than finfish. The agency added that it would target seafood processors that obtain their products directly from harvesters in an effort to stem any possible contamination problems at the first step in the supply chain.

“Monitoring this first step in the distribution chain will help to keep any potentially contaminated seafood from consumers,” the FDA said.

Gulf Stream and Global Implications for Food Safety

The health benefits normally associated with eating fish due to the presence of high levels of omega fatty acids, now has to be balanced with the increased risk of toxins entering the food chain. The risk from toxic heavy metals including cadmium and mercury is already well documented, but the increasing scale of industrial disasters combined with a global food economy highlights concerns about safe sources of food. Another factor is, of course, the Gulf Stream. This is not a problem that will be confined just to the Gulf of Mexico.

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