Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board (LSPMB) and state seafood leaders are in Washington, D.C., this week to push for ongoing, extensive testing of Gulf seafood — and for help in communicating those test results to a nation of seafood consumer.
Since the BP oil spill last April, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have conducted sensory testing and chemical analysis on seafood catches from federal waters. All the seafood tested has come in well below any levels of concern.
According to LSPMB leadership, rigorous testing remains a top priority 10 months after the spill. And will remain so for years to come.
“It’s human nature for people to think that everything’s all right, once the cameras turn off and the media goes away,” says Ewell Smith, executive director of the LSPMB. “Folks in D.C. may think things are all right here in the Gulf. But based on the study we just did on consumer attitudes toward Gulf seafood, things are not all right.”
“We want to make sure federal agencies understand how important their role is when it comes to ensuring safety and giving confidence to the American people.”
Smith and others from the seafood board will be joined by seafood industry leaders from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in carrying that message to NOAA, EPA and FDA, as well as to Congressional members. Members of an oyster task force will also educate Congressional representatives on the oyster industry’s most pressing issues.
Says Smith, “We want extensive seafood testing for years to come, so we can consistently reassure consumers throughout this process that the Gulf seafood coming to market is safe.”