Processors practice 'scratch and sniff' to detect oil in seafood - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Processors practice 'scratch and sniff' to detect oil in seafood

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Elizabeth Vowell - email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Putrid. Cheesy. Fishy.  These aren't exactly smells you want under your nose. However, a workshop sponsored by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant used these smells to teach seafood processors how to detect oil in their products.

"Never has the seafood industry given so much attention to seafood safety. This program is showing them how to do it in a practical and efficient manner," said seafood specialist Steve Otwell. 

Around 50 processors attended a day long program Thursday, all wanting to learn how to keep the fragile seafood business going.

"I'm hoping that I can pass on the terminology to other people that it's safe, it's okay," said Darlene Kimball of Kimball Seafood in Pass Christian. 

"I just want to make sure that we aren't going to loose our business for one thing, and that we don't have trouble. I don't want anybody to get sick," said Biloxi seafood processor George Griffith.

One lesson processors took away from the workshop is that you don't necessarily need chemicals or tests to make sure seafood is safe.  According to Otwell, one of the best tools you have is right under your nose.

"We actually give them product that was tainted with samples of the oil spill… to show them how their nose can pick up different concentrations, different types," explained Otwell.

Each participant was given samples of various oils, including diesel and crude.  Otwell said it is especially important to mark the difference between diesel fuel that is very common in open water, and oil that is from the Deepwater Horizon site. 

"When we make that impression it actually builds a memory, so that they will be able to detect this when they go back to their processing plants," said Otwell.

While some participants came in with doubts,  many said they left feeling more confident that they can help keep seafood safe. 

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly