Sunday, May 09, 2010

FDA monitoring oil spill impact on seafood industry

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies to monitor the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico following the recent oil spill.

The FDA has said the public should not be concerned about seafood safety at this time. Last week, Louisiana authorities opened some of the state’s shrimping zones ahead of the regular season to allow harvesting of shrimp before the oil spill reached the area. However, some of those zones have since been closed. Molluscan shellfish beds in some areas have also been closed, the FDA said.

Executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Board Ewell Smith said in a statement: “We support NOAA’s precautionary closure of the affected area so that the American consumer has confidence that the seafood they eat is safe. It is also very important to underscore the fact that this closure is only the affected area of the Gulf of Mexico, not the entire Gulf. The state waters of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River are still open and the seafood coming from that area is safe. That portion of waters represents about 77 percent of Louisiana seafood production of a 2.4 billion dollar economic impact to the state