“Seafood Safety” Challenges Gain Momentum and Intensity


Challenges to the government’s “all clear” on seafood safety are going viral this week, with a bunch of media outlets feeding off breakthrough reporting by MSNBC. The Raw Story, of course, has covered the “seafood safety” issue from way back and has an update on my team’s efforts as we move through this process.

Dr. William Sawyer, one of my lead researchers, is quoted about the government “sniff tests,” saying that the “… sensory test employed by the FDA detects compounds that are volatile that have an odor; we’re detecting compounds that are low volatility and are very low odor… [we] found not only petroleum in the digestive tracts [of shrimp], but also in the edible portions of fish. We’ve collected shrimp, oysters and finned fish on their way to marketplace – we tested a good number of seafood samples and in 100 percent we found petroleum.”

I was also a source in the story, explaining, in part, what we are up to these days: “We are in the process of working up the damage claims on behalf of our clients and hoping to present those as soon as we can because the people need relief now… [we] represent everything from seafood retailers to shrimpers to crabbers to real estate developers.” And we work with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN).

I also noted that our clients are focusing on “full recovery,” nothing more…nothing less. Raw Story quotes me as saying: “… our job at this point is to build the damage claims, find out what it costs these businesses, what sort of environmental damages occurred and how much it’ll cost to undo. Once we have all that, and we’re pretty close, we’ll sit down with them and see if we can get a deal. If not, we’ll see them in court.”

Check out the ongoing Raw Story coverage here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/nola-lawyer-mounts-legal-challenge-declaration-gulf-seafoods-safety/

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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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