The White House announced Wednesday it has shipped about 2,000 pounds of shrimp and crabs from the Gulf to serve at this year’s holiday parties, a big gesture aimed at boosting consumer confidence in regional seafood in the wake of the devastating BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“Since day one, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been working with other Federal agencies and state officials to closely monitor seafood in the Gulf and ensure that the seafood that makes it to your grocery store or restaurant is safe to eat,” wrote White House executive chef Chris Comerford on the White House blog Wedneday.

“I’m excited to use the power of food once again to honor not only the Gulf, but some very special guests,” continued Comerford. “Tonight, the White House is hosting a holiday reception for the volunteers who worked so hard over the Thanksgiving break to put up our beautiful  decorations.  And at this event, we’ll be serving our guests a seafood bar highlighting Gulf shrimp and Florida stone crabs.”

“All together, we’ve shipped in about 2,000 lbs of shrimp and crabs from the Gulf for our 2010 holiday parties,” said Comerford, who listed a bevy of dishes that will feature Gulf seafood, including: Seafood Gumbo, with Andouille, Gulf Shrimp from Venice, LA, Bayou La Batre, Alabama Lump Crab, Oyster Po-Boy with Fresh Alabama Gulf Oysters, Housemade Tartar, French Bread, Cajun Fries, Stacked Eggplant with Shrimp and Lump Crab Cream Sauce, with Garden Eggplant, Angel Hair Pasta, Gulf Shrimp from Venice, LA and Bayou La Batre, Alabama Lump Crab BBQ Shrimp, with Traditional New Orleans Family Recipe with Gulf Shrimp from Venice, LA and Crusty French Bread

Also on the menu: Speckled Trout with Speckled Trout from Gulfport, Mississippi, Brown Butter Sauce, Red Smashed Potatoes, and Snap Peas with Candied Pecans.

The decision to serve, and promote, Gulf seafood follows a long series of high level PR events aimed at boosting consumer confidence on seafood coming from the oil-rocked region.

Over the past several months, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and Chef Comerford all took part in press events to boost the image of Gulf seafood to assure consumers the products would be closely monitored and oiled seafood would not make it to market.

In September, Comerford and Hamburg traveled to the Gulf to talk seafood safety. In August, the First Family vacationed in the Gulf and dined on local seafood to help promote both tourism and seafood. The White House also hosted reigning Super Bowl champs, the New Orleans Saints, to honor their win and tout the safety and deliciousness of Gulf seafood.  

  • Steven Johnson

    I would never eat Gulf of Mexico seafood ever again. How does anyone really know what the long term environmental effects of the oil spill and the associated “clean-up” chemicals will be? Why take a chance or put your family at risk? There are plenty of other oceans in the world to get seafood from.

  • LE Peterson

    I ate Gulf of Mexico Shrimp and oysters just the other day and it was delicious. No ill effects and it didn’t taste like oil. We found a grand total of 2(two) jumbo shrimp that tasted a little funny but they were probably on the verge of spoiling.
    The seafood we purchased was harvested in TEXAS coastal waters. Texas waters were not affected by the spill so it’s seafood is safe to eat and very much in demand by restaraunts that want fish from the Gulf but are leery of anything coming out of Louisiana and Alabama.
    Chances are you will end up eating Gulf seafood again but will never know it–does every restaraunt list where the seafood was harvested? Nope–and there’s a good chance that popcorn shrimp at Long John Silvers actually came from Thailand and is totally devoid of flavor.

  • Jerry

    Steve’s comment is exactly why these events highlighting to safety and wholesomeness of Gulf and Florida seafood are taking place.
    We know they are safe because they are the most tested waters and seafood in the world.
    You are putting your family more at risk by driving your car into town than eating Gulf seafood.
    Ask for Gulf seafood and enjoy it for yourself.