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FDA Oyster Proposal Opposed

by the Fish Site Editor
02 November 2009, at 12:00am

MISSISSIPPI, US - Representative Gene Taylor has written a letter to the Food and Drug Administration to oppose their plans to require raw oysters to undergo a post-catch process to rid them of a very rare, but potentially deadly bacteria.

The FDA may require one of four treatments for Gulf oysters caught during the warm summer months: quick frozen, high-pressure treated, mild heat or low-dose gamma radiation to help lower deaths from the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria.

Sun Herald reports that the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources says the bacteria occurs more commonly between April and October when coastal waters are warmest, though they say they have heard of few cases here.

The regulations could take effect in 2011, but the seafood industry may be gearing up to oppose them.

They say the plan would hurt the industry by driving up production costs and would force them to sell a less tasty oyster at a higher price, which may turn off customers.

According to the Associated Press, the FDA says treating the oysters does not affect the taste and that those that are treated hardly ever cause anyone problems, while untreated oysters can have 'deadly consequences'.

In his letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Representative Taylor said the FDA is already struggling to meet its current commitments to its other duties due to under-staffing and insufficient computer equipment according to Government Accountability Office reports. He added that the FDA would be better served taking on imported shrimp, which he said often are not regulated.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

the Fish Site Editor