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In Wake Of Gulf Oil Spill, Officials Say Seafood Still Safe To Eat

The recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has raised questions among consumers of seafood about whether or not seafood harvested from the Gulf is safe to eat.

Helena Botemiller, writing for Food Safety News, reports that government officials, the seafood industry and food safety experts insist that these fears about consuming seafood are unfounded and the seafood in the food supply is, in fact, safe to eat.

Use Common Sense

Dr. Jim Diaz, head of environmental and occupational health sciences at the Louisiana State University School of Public Health, told Botemiller that common sense may be the best indicator of whether seafood is safe to eat: avoid seafood that smells like petroleum, but if it looks, smells and tastes fresh, it's likely ok to eat.

Fish are also smart enough to move away from contaminated waters, according to Mike Voisin, past president of the National Fisheries Institute. Speaking with NPR's Liane Hansen, Voisin said that the harshest effects will be felt by marine life that is still in its larval stage because, "It doesn't feel and it can't run."

Some areas of the gulf are still open to commercial fishing, although the areas that have been closed to fishing so far represent 77% of Louisiana's seafood production.

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