Saturday, July 31, 2010

Safe to Eat, Gulf Seafood, U Sure?


Oh my, what are we going to do now? It may be hard to believe but US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg (huh?) declared yesterday fin fish and shrimp in the waters east of New Orleans were safe. Safe to eat! An initial response might be, "Are you kidding?"

She encouraged the fishermen and shrimpers to get back to work. Some of these industrious seafarers are already engaged in skimming and in catching oil. Reports indicate the oil is getting hard to find, so that getting their day jobs back is a good thing. Some of these denizens of the briny deep have been completely out of commission, but British Petroleum has been providing payments. Sort of like unemployment payments on unemployment benefits. Although no one has jumped up to say it, some might wonder whether it might be more of a financial advantage to collect rather than to head out to the waters? Of course anytime any person gets benefits of unemployment, some nabobs of negativism always make that argument. Better to collect than to work, indeed. Bosh!

No matter, as far as the fin fish and the shrimp go, Ms. Hamburg says these critters will be as tasty as ever. The USFDA tested them, first by smelling. If the scientific sniffers failed to pick up the aroma of either oil or dispersant, the fish and shrimp underwent more rigorous analysis. Remarkably, both the fish and shrimp revealed remarkably low levels of contaminants. Commissioner Hamburg asserted that she and her department would remain vigilant. She knows things could change at any time and she is ready to handle any untoward changes in levels of seafood contamination. Although she didn't say it exactly, she is not terrified in any way.

Ms. Hamburg is only opening about 2,400 square mile of waters, leaving another 84,000 off limits. Crabs and oysters are still banned. It takes longer to test crabs and oysters are the most likely species to suffer the worst tainting since they are immobile filter feeders. It remains to be seen just how much devastation the food chain will sustain, but at least some good news is available. The Red Lobster chain of eateries has had to alter its menu selections, so this news is particularly encouraging.

BP is hoping to permanently seal the rogue well on August 3rd. If their engineers and scientists can succeed, things may be moving more quickly back to normal than initially anticipated. It is hoped that the effects of this disaster can be minimized. The first catches of fish and shrimp should help the prices of seafood, which have jumped up as a result of the oil spill. Menus can be restored. The President, who has been mum of late on the Gulf happenings, must be pleased. You can't help but wonder what his View is? POTUS will be on TV, again, sometime soon to talk with us. He will make us feel better and maybe, as a special bonus, he will disclose whether he knows this woman?

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