Tuesday, August 2, 2011
FROM TRISHA JAMES, HER LETTER AND THE RESPONSE RE: SEAFOOD SAFETY!
To Whom it may Concern:
I have been researching fish consumption for the State of Florida and found your PDF file regarding subject 2011 Fish Consumption Advisories. While perusing the information I noticed that Gulf Shrimp and Oysters are not listed in this advisory. As you may well know, these two seafoods are highly common and consumed in our local restaurants. Do you have the information available for Gulf Shrimp and Oysters? I would like to know what the State of Florida Department of Health Guideline is for these, as well as crabs. Crabs are also not listed in your advisory.
On another note, I also noticed that the Florida DOH states that a meal consists of 160 grams. From reading Table 2 of your advisory I am to assume this only includes finfish unless stated otherwise.
I would like to redirect you to the FDA's website regarding the latest "Protocol for Interpretation and Use of Sensory Testing and Analytical Chemistry Results for Re-Opening Oil-Impacted Areas Closed to Seafood Harvesting due to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill":
This article is contradictory to your latest advisory as the FDA specifies only 49 grams of finfish can be eaten daily. Unfortunately the FDA did not break down the seafood consumption as did the DOH specifying Children and Women of Childbearing Age.
Your response to the items addressed above would be greatly appreciated.
Navarre Beach, Florida
Dear Ms. James
Thank you for contacting the Department of Health (DOH), Division of Environmental Health regarding fish consumption advice. Fish consumption advice for the state of Florida comes from many state agencies. DOH is mainly responsible for advising recreational fishermen about the effects of methylmercury. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) is responsible for commercial seafood that enters the interstate market (i.e. shrimp, crabs, oysters). Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for licensing commercial finfish. An interagency fish consumption group with members from each state agency adapted a fish wallet card for women of childbearing age which can be found on our website (http://doh.state.fl.us/floridafishadvice/PrintableWalletCard.pdf). In general, commonly eaten fish like shrimp, crabs and oysters are low in mercury.
The article that you mentioned on FDA’s website regarding seafood impacted during the oil spill applies only to that specific event. The chemicals of concern for that event were mainly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS). Certain exposure assumptions were made for that event alone. One such assumption was that the exposure duration would be at maximum five years. For DOH advisories, we assume that a person will eat fish for their entire lifetime (70 years). The FDA article also mentioned different consumption rates of fish (i.e. 49 grams/day for finfish). Again, this assumption was just for the Deepwater Horizon event. This consumption rate is higher than the average national consumption rate of 17.5 grams/day. For DOH advisories, we assume a consumption rate of 32 gram/day. The values in the FDA article were also intended as screening values. No weekly or monthly consumption advice was given like in the DOH advisories. For DOH advisories, we assume that an average meal is 8 ounces uncooked. We recommend that a person eats two average meals per week of fish.
Currently, DACS is testing fish from the Gulf that may have been impacted by the Deepwater Horizon event (http://www.freshfromflorida.com/fs/). So far no detectable levels of PAHs have been detected in any of the seafood from the Gulf. See a recent article on the subject of seafood after the Deepwater Horizon event http://www.guyharveymagazine.com/is-seafood-safe-to-eat-guy-harvey-magazine-spring-2011.php
I hope this information helps.
Kendra F. Goff, Ph.D.
Acting State Toxicologist
Division of Environmental Health
Bureau of Environmental Public Health Medicine
4052 Bald Cypress Way - Bin A08
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1712
(850) 245 4248 (Work)
(850) 408 9819 (Cell)
(850) 922 8473 (Fax)
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