By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, October 14, 2011
A peer-reviewed study released this week has concluded that the government’s safety testing methodologies for Gulf of Mexico seafood were insufficient to prevent oil-tainted animals from being sold in U.S. supermarkts.
Produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspective, the study concludes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used outdated risk assessment techniques when evaluating the safety of gulf seafood in the wake of the worst accidental oil spill in human history.
Ultimately, the FDA was responsible for allowing food with “10,000 times too much contamination” than should be permitted, the study’s authors said, failing to highlight the elevated risk to children and pregnant women.
The results of the NRDC’s study are in line with a Raw Story investigation published late last year, which cited independent chemists and toxicologists states apart whose tests had concluded that tainted seafood was headed to the U.S. market.
“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,” Dr. William Sawyer, a toxicologist, told Raw Story in November 2010. “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.”