Sadly, Seafood Safety Is Much More Than an Image Problem


What happens when the government loses virtually all credibility? Well, for one thing, some people are having trouble believing the official “all’s well” message regarding Gulf seafood. The lack of trust is well-founded: If federal officials low-balled us on flow rates and lied to us about how much oil is left in the Gulf…and rolled over for BP use of toxic dispersants, how can we trust them about the safety of seafood? And let’s not forget that Gulf seafood is being declared safe based on a sniff test.

WWL-TV, out of Louisiana, is reporting that shrimp can be caught, but oysters remain a problem because the oil has killed off so many of them. However, shrimp prices are low, and the problem is seen as a “brand” issue – not the fact that the government lacks credibility. Well, after we were told the “vast majority of the oil is gone,” why in the world would we believe them now? As the old saying goes: Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me. That holds particularly true when it comes to the health of our families.

The WWL-TV segment focuses on St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro telling the Parish Council how “things stand six months after the spill.”

“We have a national image problem right now,” Taffaro says. “The rest of the country is still very apprehensive about eating gulf seafood.” But, of course, it’s not just the “rest of the country,” it’s a lot of the fishermen and seafood industry experts who live and work here along the Gulf Coast. But their concerns are being drowned out by the same voices that brought us the “Mission Accomplished” message. That grossly premature announcement has become a national joke, and I would venture to say that we will eventually witness a similar situation relating to the “all clear” on seafood safety that is now being peddled.

Watch the segment 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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