Gulf seafood called safe in wake of hurricanes

Dec 12, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Tests of fish and shellfish collected from waters affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita suggest that seafood from the region is safe to eat, federal officials said last week.

Tests of hundreds of samples "showed no reason for concern around consuming seafood from the Gulf region due to the hurricanes," the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a Dec 9 news release.

All the samples were analyzed for chemical and microbiological contaminants that could have been introduced by the hurricanes. Testing was done by the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, along with the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sampling areas included Lake Pontchartrain, Mississippi Sound, Mobile Bay, and offshore areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Monitoring is continuing, and results will be announced as they become available, the statement said.

Many oyster harvest areas have been reopened, the FDA said, but some will remain closed until routine testing by state-regulated Molluscan Shellfish Programs shows harvesting is safe.

See also:

FDA news release

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108528.htm

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