Is Gulf Seafood Really Safe to Eat?

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The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and FDA have said that post-oil spill Gulf seafood is now safe to eat according to their tests. However, many scientists are beginning to wonder if this is true because they argue that these two administrations have not been as transparent as needed. Scientists are claiming that the protocols that are used for the testing and reopening the gulf waters are very inadequate and ambiguous.

Scientists are concerned because there isn’t any protocol to where these administrations test the samples, how many samples they test, and how they test the samples. We’re a little worried that these samples so far may not be as thorough as they might need to be and there could be areas that are missed,” said Gina Solomon, a doctor and public health expert in the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

“That’s the fundamental concern,” added Solomon, a co-author of the recent peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study on Gulf seafood safety.

Timothy Fitzgerald, a marine scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund who testified last week to the National Oil Spill Commission, said, “Given the work that we do and the level of resolution we usually rely on, if they’re going to provide technical detail I would very much like them to actually provide it in as raw a form as possible.”

“What they’ve done in a lot of instances is [provide] kind of first or second order binning or summarizing or distilling, which makes a lot of the data unusable or unavailable,” Fitzgerald continued.

“It’s not that it doesn’t exist,” he said. “It’s just that it hasn’t been provided in a way that scientists could really make a lot of use out of it.”

In other words, scientists are concerned because the FDA and NOAA are making decisions based upon a case-by-case protocol instead of a consistent protocol. Another thing that is alarming scientists is that the government is not making the data easily available. Numerous independent scientists have requested information from the government for peer review, but the government has yet to provide a response.

Title: Government Withholding Key Data on Seafood Testing, Scientists sayPublication:

Raw Story,  October 7th, 2010Author: Brad Jacobson


Faculty Evaluator: Ervand Peterson, Sonoma State University

Student Researcher: Jason Corbett, Sonoma State University