Mainstream Media Challenge Government’s All-Clear on Seafood Safety


Well, it looks like the heat is on, and I should note that another MSNBC report is citing our seafood research findings – escalating the debate over seafood safety.

Senior reporter Kari Huus quotes Dr. William Sawyer, who regular readers know works with our team, saying that “… what we have found is that FDA simply overlooked an important aspect of safety in their protocol… we now have a sufficient number of samples to provide FDA with probable cause to include such testing, really. They need to go back and test some of their archived samples as well.”

We didn’t launch this blog to become some “voice of opposition” to BP and government officials, and overall I think we’ve stayed fairly balanced. But on the issue of seafood safety, frankly, somebody is right and somebody is wrong – and I have 100 percent confidence in the independent scientists gathering evidence in the Gulf.

For one thing, I know that their process and findings will one day face a very smart and well-paid Big Oil legal team trying to discredit the results. The real difference is in attitude: If you think the most important thing is getting the spill behind us, then maybe the government testing with its low consumption estimates and carefully considered spectrum is just fine. But, if you think the important thing is the long-term safety of the public, then at minimum you think the jury is still very much out on this issue.

To that point: Shouldn’t we all be deeply offended that Ray Mabus, the Navy secretary and a leading government official in charge of the spill response effort, is insisting that the military buy Gulf seafood to feed our service members? The market is beginning to realize that the government may be wrong again on seafood safety, just like it was on flow rates and allowing dispersant use and announcing that the “vast majority” of the oil was gone. So if the public rejects the “all clear” on seafood, we push it off on our military? On school children? On inmates?

As for these “honest mistakes” by NOAA and EPA…that’s increasingly hard to believe when every single “error” seems to benefit BP, its industry allies and various political agendas. So if it seems like this blog and our team is “giving them hell,” I can only paraphrase that Harry S. Truman quote: We just give them the truth, and they think it’s Hell.

We applaud Kari Huus and the entire team at for having the courage to pursue this complex, controversial story and reporting on it so professionally. ups the ante here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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