As the BP oil spill continues to slip from daily consciousness along much of the Gulf Coast, Federal Authorities are quietly, but steadily, rebuilding levels of confidence in the quality of seafood now coming to market from Gulf waters. Many concerned advocacy groups have spoken for months of their concerns regarding not just food contamination from the oil itself, but also potentially toxic levels of dispersant chemicals in the fish, oysters, crab, and shrimp found in open Gulf waters. Recent testing designed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, continues to support the belief that commercial seafood is free from toxic levels of oil and dispersant residue.
Scientists continue to be amazed at the ability of fish, crustaceans, and shellfish to quickly clear dispersant from their tissues, and the results of testing 1,735 samples from all over the Gulf from June through September has merely added to the body of evidence supporting that conclusion. Bottom line, while over 9,444 square miles of federal waters in the Gulf remain closed to commercial and recreational fishing (approximately, 4% of the Gulf), you apparently can order that Grouper, Tuna, Crab, or Oyster with peace of mind going forward. While chemical and toxic tort litigation arising from the spill will unquestionably continue for quite some time, the breadth and scope of potential litigation areas appear to narrow as we learn more about the lasting impact of the spill.