Chemical Testing Finds Gulf Seafood Safe to Eat, Says FDA
Officials from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have taken more than 1,700 Gulf of Mexico seafood tissue samples and have declared that the tests indicate that no widespread contamination has occurred from the dispersants used to break up the oil from the BP Oil spill. The agencies state that the seafood is safe for human consumption.
Less than 1% of Samples Tested Positive at Low Levels
The seafood samples were collected between June and September 2010 and came from a wide variety of fish species, including tuna, wahoo, swordfish, gray snapper, butterfish, croaker, and shellfish such as shrimp, crabs and oysters. The tests indicate that less than 1% of samples were positive for any trace chemicals and those that did test positive were well below the safety threshold of 100 parts per million for fin fish and 500 parts per million for shellfish.
The tests focused on detecting dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate, or DOSS, a key compound used in the dispersant called Corexit. DOSS is a detergent that causes oil to break up into small globules so they can remain suspended in the water. It is also a common ingredient in laxatives and many household products.
"This new test should help strengthen consumer confidence in gulf seafood," said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. "The overwhelming majority of the seafood tested shows no detectable residue, and not one of the samples shows a residue level that would be harmful for humans. There is no question gulf seafood coming to market is safe from oil or dispersant residue."
Today, federal officials say that 4% of waters in the Gulf of Mexico, or nearly 9,444 square miles, remain closed to commercial and recreational fishing. In all, about 185 million gallons of crude oil were spilled into the Gulf after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in April 2010.
"Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill: Federal Fisheries Closure and Other Information"
NOAA Fisheries Service