FDA Fails to Examine Gulf Seafood Safety
The life of a consumer is a series of transactions. We go to stores and purchase items made by producers. The underlying assumption or prerequisite of the transaction is that the consumer has complete information. When we are at clothing stores we judge the product visually, and if the shirt has a tear or is too wide, we don't buy it. When consumers don't have the ability to acquire complete information, the government steps up -- ushering in the services of agencies such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assure the products safety and validity. This gives credence and fluidity to the markets and lets consumers sleep at night knowing the apple they bit into and the pill they swallowed are safe. Supposedly.
A new report conducted by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), discussed in OnEarth, reveals that the FDA has been cutting corners in examining the safety of Gulf seafood, despite loudly proclaiming its safety in the spring. The report finds that the FDA used poor standards and science, letting up to 10,000 times the safe level of chemical contamination slip by -- endangering pregnant women and young children and those who consume a lot of seafood. NRDC's report, which was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, finds fault with the FDA in three areas.
What's scary is that these are major flaws and the FDA knows it. The FDA is an agency with regulations so thorough that new pharmaceuticals can take a decade to hit the market. They employ the best and the brightest health scientists and PhD statisticians. But they don't see the flaws in using national average seafood consumption? Unlikely. As soon as the FDA becomes an instrument for false economic reassurance, it loses its identity. It becomes an expensive taxpayer-funded program inefficient at doing its job -- providing complete information. Read more here.
-- Charley Gaber, Sierra Club Louisiana Intern