To allay concerns over the state of Gulf seafood after BP’s massive oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, members of the Gulf seafood community were in Washington to testify before a House Subcommittee that not they eat Gulf seafood but so do members of their families.
In response to questions from Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, Mike Voisin of Houma, Louisiana-based Motivatit Seafoods; Venice fisherman Acy Cooper Jr. of the Louisiana Shrimp Association; and Dean Blanchard of Dean Blanchard Seafoods all said they eat Gulf seafood and are confident of its integrity.
“The seafood is wholesome and safe, and I want Americans to know that,” said Voisin.
Their concern is a perception among consumers that raises question about the safety of seafood even through Gulf seafood has gotten a clean bill from a multitude of testing facilities and government agencies.
“We’re not gonna sell ‘em nuthin’ I wouldn’t eat myself,” said Blanchard.
The shrimpers and oystermen said they we confident enough in their product to not only sell it to consumers but serve it to their own families.
The hearing included testimony from Federal regulators including the Food and Drug Administration, whose acting deputy director at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Donald Kraemer, said, “We are confident that the program FDA has put together is sufficiently protective… [Gulf seafood] is essentially at the same level of safety as it was before the spill.”
In his testimony Voisin noted, “NOAA and the FDA have collected 5,658 specimens, and NOAA reports that all of its samples have been at least 100 to 1,000 times below the threshold level of concern, so these samples are not just passing – they are passing with a huge margin of safety.”
Voisin is the former Chairman of the National Fisheries Institute and this is his second time testifying before congress since the Gulf oil spill.