Gulf seafood safety worrisome

More than 50% say they won't eat seafood from Gulf following oil spill

NEW ORLEANS (UPI) | May 27, 2011

"We're very confident that the steps we have put in place to assure the safety of seafood have worked"

—Douglas Karas, Food and Drug Administration

While restaurateurs express confidence in the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico after last year's oil spill, consumers aren't so sure, a poll finds.

"We'd never do anything to endanger our reputation and our customers," said Ben Thibodeaux, chef at New Orleans' Palace Cafe where barbecued shrimp, redfish almondine and softshell crabs are all prepared with fresh-caught gulf fish and shellfish.

But consumers still have doubts, as an informal online poll by USA Today found. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they still wouldn't eat seafood from the gulf.

Government regulators say they're satisfied with measures taken to assure the safety of gulf seafood.

"We're very confident that the steps we have put in place to assure the safety of seafood have worked," Douglas Karas of the Food and Drug Administration said.

The FDA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration "established an extensive program of sampling in response to the spill," Karas said.

More than 10,000 samples have been taken, and results have consistently been 100 to 1,000 times below levels of concern, he said.

Copyright 2011 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

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