Chocolate Milk Seafood

I hope you like oil with your soft-shell crab and oysters.

A peer-reviewed study released this week has concluded that the government’s safety testing methodologies for Gulf of Mexico seafood were insufficient to prevent oil-tainted animals from being sold in U.S. supermarkets.

Produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective, the study concludes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used outdated risk assessment techniques when evaluating the safety of gulf seafood in the wake of the worst accidental oil spill in human history.

Ultimately, the FDA was responsible for allowing food with “10,000 times too much contamination” than should be permitted, the study’s authors said, failing to highlight the elevated risk to children and pregnant women.

To the best of my knowledge, I have not personally eaten gulf seafood since the explosion of the Deepwater horizon, but I am sure tens of thousands of people further south have and this is a fairly large breach of their trust in the FDA.

The FDA said gulf seafood was safe to eat, and while even a mild skeptic would take that opinion with a grain of salt, many people out there aren't as attentive. And some, particularly those living on the gulf coast, don't have much of a choice. They can eat oil-tainted seafood or go hungry.

The obvious solution here is to abolish all regulations and let the industry police itself. At least, I'm sure that's what pundits are muttering at this very moment.

If FDA procedures are insufficient or outdated, we must make them sufficient. I don't envy the person whose job it is to do so though, as its much more likely the FDA will soon face a budget cut rather than a budget increase.