Today the FDA with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stepped up their inspection procedures of fish from the Gulf of Mexico. In the ongoing leak that seems unwilling to abate, the Feds have decided to act in a precautionary vein and not as an after-the-fact procedure. They increased seafood testing inspections and initiated precautionary closures. This latter approach should take the worry out of the water as the suspect fish will not reach the food supply.
NOAA began fishery area closures over a month ago and continues to make adjustments as the spill trajectory changes. The current federal closure entails 32% of areas known to be affected by oil either on or below the surface as well as areas projected to be affected within the next 48-72 hours. As a further precaution, they created a 5-nautical mile buffer around the known locations of oil. They are working to protect the seafood at the docks and at the processors to help prevent tainted products from ever reaching the marketplace.
As of this time they have taken over 600 samples, of which 400 were sent to NOAA’s Seattle testing laboratory for chemical analysis. Meanwhile the FDA has set up a hotline for fisherman and consumers to report and stay updated on the ever-growing fish and seafood matter. Some states have instituted temporary closures for saltwater fish, crabs, and shrimp. Most of these actions are considered precautionary and everyone at this point concurs that the fish we find in restaurants and markets is perfectly safe for consumption. The industry has been hard-hit by fear so we should not abandon its efforts.
As consumers we need to keep abreast of these posts and trust the vendors from whom we purchase our fish and seafood. Now is not the time for anyone to get sloppy with this issue. Honesty and appropriate analysis must be the only routes for those who want to maintain a diet of fish.
It is our world.