Shoving Gulf Seafood Down the Throats of Our Men and Women in Uniform


What do you do with a glut of potentially contaminated Gulf seafood if a justifiably cautious public won’t eat the stuff? Why, feed it to our military men and women, of course.

When we first noted this half-baked idea some weeks ago, it was widely assumed that somebody would block the program. The market has clearly spoken and those of us who still question seafood safety understand why. Anyone looking into the independent science on this issue, or noting the low-consumption assumptions of the government, is going to argue that we are putting our armed forces at risk for no good reason. The Press-Register puts it into perspective with the help of Wilma Subra, a New Iberia-based biochemist:

Subra said the Food and Drug Administration declared in September that Gulf seafood was free from contaminants, but later modified its statement to state only that the level of toxins found was below levels of danger set by the agency. The problem, Subra said, was the methodology used to set the toxicity threshold. “They said a normal seafood diet would be four jumbo shrimp a week,” she said. “How many of you, when you eat jumbo shrimp, only eat four?”

Despite the serious concerns that remain regarding Gulf seafood, the government is, in essence, shoving it down the throats of our men and women in uniform. The AP is reporting that “…ten products including fish, shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, and packaged Cajun dishes such as jambalaya and shrimp etouffee are being promoted at 72 base commissaries along the East Coast, said Milt Ackerman, president of Military Solutions Inc., which is supplying seafood to the businesses.”

And here’s more, but note the last sentence: “Gulf seafood sales fell sharply after BP PLC’s Gulf well blew out in April, spewing millions of gallons of oil into the sea. Consumers have long feared that fish, oysters and other products could be tainted by oil and chemicals used to fight the spill, even though extensive testing has indicated the food is safe. The perception has lingered – along with the poor sales.”

It’s subtle, but even the AP buys into the idea that this is a “perception” problem. It’s not. It’s a fact that current levels of testing are not “extensive” except in the eyes of agencies promoting a “Mission Accomplished” agenda. You can do a million tests, but if they’re bad tests, they don’t mean a thing.

Independent research and local media reports have blown big holes in the government’s “all clear” declaration over and over again. (See posts: FEATURED VIDEO: Enviro Group Releases Alarming Test Results on Human Health Effects and Seafood Safety; SEAFOOD SAFETY: Highly Contaminated Crab Catch in St. Bernard Parish Brushed Aside by Government Officials; Concern Intensifies Over Flaws in Government “Seafood Testing” Program; NOLA lawyer prepares challenge to declaration of Gulf seafood’s safety) The tests results my colleagues have reported here on this blog alone should give any objective person pause. As my regular readers know, my team of researchers has found dangerous levels of toxicity in virtually every seafood sample they’ve taken.

Coupled with the credibility vacuum of official agencies, those valid safety concerns are naturally keeping people from eating Gulf seafood. The answer is to increase credibility by addressing questions and concerns and by developing better testing, not by peddling Gulf seafood to our military men and women.

Read about the latest entry to your Outrage File here:

© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved

1 comment

  • After the way Vets and Active Duty members have been treated post Agent Orange Exposure, Gulf Syndrome, and what was it—Walter Reed Scandals [note plural] does any of this surprise you? BP already has lucrative contracts with the DoD, so it is no surprise that they found a way to try and hide the irreperable damage done to our sea food industry in the Gulf and the Regional Economies in the Gulf dependent on that Industry by contractually obligating the company that runs our base commissaries to buy this poison. It just goes to show us that Plutocrat doesn’t equal Patriot.

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