Seafood Safety Still A Tough Sell

New Orleans, La. – The Food and Drug Administration is overseeing testing of Gulf seafood. Spokesman Robert Dickey of the FDA's seafood lab in Dauphin Island, Alabama reassured the panel that seafood is safe to eat.

"I am not aware of anywhere else that has undergone this level of testing."

But getting that message out is proving difficult. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board says two-thirds of the country is concerned that Gulf seafood is tainted. A panelist asked Dickey if the FDA could make its scientific findings more easily understood by the public.

"I take your point, and it has been raised all the way to the commissioner's level. She's aware of it and I think we can expect more direct messaging forthcoming."

After the presentation, Dickey was asked about the findings of Wilma Supra of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. She said at a community meeting earlier this month that she found oil in seafood she sampled for testing. Dickey says her data can't be confirmed.

"What she's calling petroleum hydrocarbons we don't believe are petroleum hydrocarbons. She's measuring what she calls - TPH - total petroleum hydrocarbons or some such, and those are not the analytes that we monitor for for consumer safety."

Dickey says a clear system for letting the public know about FDA testing and results could be ready in a few months.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.