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Gulf Seafood Safe?

by Erin Z. Bass

Since last year’s oil spill, the safety of eating seafood from the Gulf has been in question. I personally have never stopped eating it. Shrimp, crabs and on special occasions, oysters, are a huge part of my diet here in South Louisiana, and I don’t think I could live without them. But I realize that many of you have concerns about seafood coming from waters contaminated with oil, and I don’t blame you. Maybe I should be more concerned, but those barbecued shrimp I had for dinner the other night were sooo good.

Many of you followed along last month with our trip to Dauphin Island, Alabama. A potential annual celebration for the island that combines seafood, science and celebrity, the weekend was heavy on the seafood. From a shrimp and crawfish boil on the dock at Bellingrath Gardens Friday night to plenty of seafood gumbo entries at the Gumbo Cookoff on Saturday and a bash that filled the rooms of the island’s estuarium with everything from stuffed crabs to freshly shucked oysters and the aforementioned barbecued shrimp that night, I basically consumed as much seafood as one person possibly can in a weekend. As did celebrity Chef Alton Brown, who flew in to help judge the cookoff and hobnob at the party.

I had a few moments alone with Alton on a shrimp boat during the weekend and asked him if he thought Gulf seafood was safe to eat. His response? “Seafood is safe. Life’s dangerous.” While we’re not doubting Alton, we decided to post a poll on the website to find out if y’all think seafood is safe to eat. We’ll also be talking to some experts later this week, including Dauphin Island Sea Lab Executive Director Dr. George Crozier and Dr. John Stein with NOAA, to find out what evidence there is to support the claim that seafood is safe.

So, please take a moment to click “yes” or “no” in the poll on the right and feel free to comment here and let us know what you think. We’ll report the poll results, tell you what the experts had to say and divulge a bit more on our weekend with Alton here later this month, so stay tuned. Until then, consider living dangerously and eat a shrimp or two.

UPDATE: Click here to read our oil spill anniversary story. By commenting and/or joining in the discussion on Facebook, you could win a special giveaway from the coast.

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