The FDA Should Get Out Of Our Gumbo

A great editorial by the Editorial page staff, The Times-Picayune:

    A Food and Drug Administration decision to impose draconian new rules on oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico could wreck Louisiana's $300 million-a-year industry and restrict the diets of raw oyster lovers here and elsewhere for most of the year -- all in a misguided effort to prevent a serious but rare health threat.
    The FDA announced guidelines, to go into effect in 2011, that would require all Gulf oysters harvested from April through October to undergo a sterilization process before they can be sold. That could double or even triple the cost of Louisiana oysters for consumers and alter their taste, texture and color, something that could hurt this state's famous cuisine The agency is taking the step because of vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that thrives in warm water and can sicken people with immune system disorders who eat raw oysters.
    People who suffer from AIDS, cancer, kidney disease and diabetes and those who abuse alcohol are at risk. About 30 people per year become ill from vibrio vulnificus, and half those cases are fatal But requiring every single Gulf oyster to be sterilized for seven months of the year -- even those destined for the pot or pan and not the half shell -- isn't reasonable. Labeling and other steps to educate those at risk so that they can avoid raw oysters makes far more sense, and the FDA agreed to that very approach in the late 1990s. Excerpt and photo from
    Click HERE to read full article.
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