One Year After BP Spill, Scientists Say Gulf Seafood Safe to Eat RELEASED AT THE 2011 IFT ANNUAL MEETING & FOOD EXPO

June 13, 2011

NEW ORLEANS – Scientists say Gulf of Mexico seafood is safe but Americans remain deeply suspicious about the Gulf's fish, shrimp and crabs because of the BP oil spill, a panel of seafood specialists said Sunday at the 2011 Institute of  Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo®.

However, results from all seafood tested for oil contamination and chemical dispersants used to break up the oil by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) were well below the level of contamination that could be harmful for humans to consume.

"The data strongly indicates that Gulf seafood is safe to eat," said Calvin Walker, a NOAA scientist based in Pascagoula, Miss. "The continuing challenge is trying to get the public to understand that seafood from the Gulf is safe to eat."

Ewell Smith, head of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, said. "Gulf seafood is literally the most tested food source in the entire world right now."

Smith's group last week received the first installment of $30 million promised by BP to pay for a marketing campaign to help the industry recover.

Gulf seafood is a $2.4 billion industry in Louisiana alone, but fishermen and processors have been hit hard with the oil spill last year and four major hurricanes since 2005, including Katrina.

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About IFT

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.

For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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