In yet another move to boost consumer confidence in seafood harvested in the Gulf of Mexico, the White House held a live video chat yesterday, taking seafood safety questions from the public.
The 30-minute chat, hosted via whitehouse.gov/live and Facebook, featured a discussion with Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Jane Lubchenco, and largely rehashed the usual talking points on extensive testing.
“Secretary Gary Locke, FDA commissioner Peggy Hamburg, and I agree with fisherman, with fishery regulators in the states, with consumer safety advocates, with seafood lovers everyplace, that the first priority is protecting the safety of seafood from the Gulf,” said Lubchenco, who again outlined the coordinated state and federal effort to keep tainted seafood out of the food supply.
Though Lubchenco was unequivocal in her assurance of Gulf seafood safety during the chat, the overwhelming response on Facebook was negative.
“There is no way ‘nature’ is going to clean up this mess,” wrote online participant Karen Kangas. “The chemicals from the oil and dispersants and God knows whatever else was thrown into the toxic soup will be in the waters for many years.”
“I’m happy to see that [90 percent] of the people on this chat are not buying this propaganda,” added Mary Moreno.
The White House not only vouched for the safety of seafood but struck a patriotic chord by encouraging Americans to buy domestic seafood to help the region recover.
“The men and women of the Gulf who make their livelihood harvesting fish, shrimp, and oysters have been among those hardest hit by this spill,” the White House said in a statement announcing the chat. “Enjoying some local seafood is one simple way Americans can support the people of the Gulf who have been battered by this spill.”
See recent Food Safety News coverage of the administration and seafood safety:
President Obama Continues Gulf Seafood Push August 16, 2010
President Looking Forward to Gulf Trip, Seafood August 12, 2010
White House, Saints Give Gulf Seafood a Boost August 10, 2010
First Lady: Gulf Seafood ‘Safe to Eat’ July 26, 2010