It seems to us every time you turn around some agency is trying to cripple our seafood industry. Now our oyster industry is under attack by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA wants oysters harvested from April thru October to either under go a low heat pasteurization, irradiation or be quick frozen.
The reason is the FDA is concerned about a naturally occuring bacteria that is found in warm coastal waters. No doubt there is a risk with eating any food raw. But, we agree with several of our state agencies that the new FDA proposal seems like an inordinate amount of regulation for a small amount of gain.
Regulators in the Gulf States have already developed a plan where oysters harvested in warmer months must be refrigerated within two hours. There are also plenty of signs at restaurants warning you not to eat raw oysters if you have certain ailments. And state records report only three cases of people getting sick from the bacteria in oysters in the past 18 years.
Oystering is a 70 million dollar industry in South Mississippi, which provides between 800 and 1000 jobs for commercial fishermen, truck drivers and factory workers. Many of us have eaten raw oysters most of our lives without any ill effect. To us this proposed regulation is just another example of a federal agency attempting to protect one or two folks at the expense of the rest of us.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments below.
WLOX-TV General Manager