Gulf Seafood Safety in Question

I realize that the safety of gulf seafood has been in question for a while, but there seems to be mounting evidence that it is not safe to eat. The Institute of Southern Studies released evidence today that testing of gulf seafood is not being done correctly and questions its safety. Based on this report, the toxic chemicals seem to be moving up the food chain. And who, by golly is at the top of that food chain? Well, lemme think about that one.  Hmmm….could it possibly be…humans? In fact, certain environmental groups are protesting FDA seafood standards, saying that they aren’t safe.

Recently, Obama told all military commissaries and mess halls around the world to begin selling and serving seafood from the gulf. I think it’s ironic that Obama is waging a war in Afganistan, but at the same time seeks to poison all military personnel along with himself and members of the White House. Oh, and I forgot to mention that prisons and public schools are also encouraged to eat gulf seafood.  Seriously??  This video, put out by Al Jazeera follows a few local fishermen as they speak openly about the fact that there is still oil in the water.

Play that video at the White House and then bring out the shrimp cocktails and the raw oysters.  As my grandma would say, “that’s enough to gag a maggot”.  Hey, I’m all for eating gulf seafood, as long as it doesn’t turn me into the Toxic Avenger. So, for now, I am not eating anything that lived or lives in gulf waters…and neither should you for that matter…and that’s a bold statement from someone who’s been eating gulf seafood her entire life.

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Bloody Mississippi Bayous

This is a YouTube video of oil and Corexit in the bayous of Ocean Springs, Mississippi that was posted today by Lorrie Williams. She has a YouTube channel where she posts video updates of the oil spill’s affects on her hometown.  I initally found it on the Ladies’ Guide to the Apocolypse blog (which is an awesome blog, by the way) and had to share it with all of you. Man, this video is intense. It totally blows my mind that the federal government continues to tell us that the water is “clean” and the oysters, fish and shrimp are fine to eat.

Take a look at this video and tell me if you’d eat an oyster, a shrimp or a strawberry shortcake outta this water…

What kind of crap are the feds tryin’ to pull? Seriously? What the hell?

Oh, and BP has waltzed out of town with it’s drawers still in tact. In fact, their shares went up a point today. But, the residents of Ocean Springs, Mississippi’s housing values went into the toilet along with their health. Am I still living in America?

Hang in there!

I was talking to my mom on the phone last night and we were reminiscing about all of the time my brother and I spent in the water while we were growing up. She said that she was really happy that we were able to swim, surf, and enjoy the water before the oil spill.  When she said that, I started to feel so many different emotions.  Anger, regret, sadness…and then, a will to fight.  That’s why I started this blog in the first place. To continue to fight for my hometown and the people in the gulf.

Battle fatigue has set in across the nation. Many people have turned to other news, such as Hurricane Earl, Paris Hilton’s recent jail time and the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.  Where will the people of the gulf fit into the daily news feeds? Well, we’re slowly fading away, thanks to the federal government’s recent announcement that the oil has “disappeared”.   Tourists are slowly coming back to the gulf coast, but the locals know better and aren’t going in the water.  Where’s the disconnect here?

Last week’s telethon “The Gulf is Back”  looked like it was sponsored by BP. The panaoramas of tourists eating gulf seafood and playing in the water was maddening.  I had to change the channel because it just isn’t true.  The tourism boards want gulf seafood to be safe (we’d all like for it to be safe, if that truly was the case) and the water to be crystal clear. But, the truth is always right underneath the surface…all you have to do is scratch a little bit and you’ll find it. Kinda like scratch off Lotto tickets.  The tarballs are right underneath that first layer of sugary sand, waiting to be exposed. If you scroll down and look at the fine print of the “Gulf is Back” website, you’ll see that it’s sponsored by the State of Mississippi…hmmm.  I mean, on one hand, great, I know people are losing money and revenue needs to be created…but like I’ve said in the past, does it have to be at the expense of the health of American people?

So, how do we combat battle fatigue and keep going? Here’s some inspiration from Kristina Johnson, Senior Press Secretary at the Sierra Club, as she writes about the resiliency of gulf coast residents.  Her story is short, but sweet.  The skeptical side of me always cringes when they call us “resilient”, though.  Aren’t there other resilient folks in the rest of the US? But hey, let’s not focus on that…we are resilient, we will keep going…this is a great article written in the LaCrosse Tribune about disaster fatigue and how it shouldn’t foil relief efforts in the gulf.

One of the things that we have to do is manage our stress about the oil spill…starting this blog was one of the ways that I’m managing my stress. I mean it, I couldn’t hardly sleep. So, I decided to start blogging and telling my story.  Are you telling your story about the spill and about the gulf?  I’m trying to find the positive in all of this and let me tell you, it’s difficult. But, I’m reminded of people like Jack Rudloe with Operation Noah’s Ark who are fighting every day to be heard. He’s not giving up, and neither should we. I’m always reminded of the cat hanging onto the tree limb with the quote that says “Hang in there!”  Find your groove and hang in there, guys. It’s may be tough, but we can do it. I’m counting on you!

Hang in there

Gulf Seafood’s “Silent Spring”?

When I was six or seven, my gramma dared me to eat my first oyster for a dollar. I accepted the challenge, but it felt like wet snot going down the back of my throat. I gagged and she laughed, telling me that it would put hair on my chest. I remember thinkin’ that she was crazy, because I was a girl and heaven help me if I grew hair on my chest.  She replied with her quintessential “tough titties” comment. 

Years later, she passed away. One of her best friends, Arnette, owned a local oyster house in Ft. Walton and it was my gramma’s wish to have her memorial service there.  So, we all packed into that dark, lively oyster house to say our farewells to one of my favorite people.

Will these recent events change our coastal history? I do believe they will…unfortunately.  What will happen to gulf seafood now? I have so many memories of fish frys, trips to the seafood market, going down to the docks at Destin, and everyone eating oysters by the bushel…topped with hot sauce on a saltine.

It’s not only gulf seafood that may not be safe, but also our culture and our way of life.  It’s strange, because if gulf seafood truly isn’t safe to eat, those fish frys, restraunts, seafood markets and daily catches will only be a memory. In my heart, I want those events to carry on, but I’m not sure how they will.

The fear surrounding gulf seafood is so high, that people are asking if the oysters or fish were caught in the gulf when they order from the menu.  The federal government came out today with “Dockside Chats” which will promote the safety of gulf seafood and answer questions from the public. I’m curious how they’re going to pull this off, because the last time I checked, many fishermen were opposed to selling and eating gulf seafood.

This reminds me of when DDT was really popular and everyone used it. The government touted DDT as “being safe”, when in fact, it caused cancer and eventually was banned in the US, thanks in large part to Rachel Carson’s book, Silent SpringThis is an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association about long and short term affects on the food chain. What gets me, is that JAMA, one of the most respected medical associations, is publishing this type of information and we’re having “Dockside Chats” on how safe gulf seafood is?

I know that the fishing industry will crumble if gulf seafood is truly not safe to eat. The Obama administration must know this too, but at the expense of the American people?  I’m so sad about what has happened in my hometown and throughout the oil spill area, and losing my right to eat gulf seafood just chaps my hide. But…and this is a big “but”…what a disservice the Obama administration is doing to all of us if it isn’t truly safe.  Mother Jones magazine is also questioning the safety of gulf seafood in this article.  

Now, granted, I’m sure that you have to eat a lot of shrimp or a lot of crab to end up with an oil spill related illness. But, have ya’ll ever seen a buffet that has shrimp, oyster or crab? Man, it’s like somethin’ I’ve never seen before…there is so much food consumed in one sitting. I mean, my dad and brother alone can go through like 2 pitchers of beer and 3 dozen oysters at one time. So, we know that you don’t eat just “one” oyster or “one” shrimp. It’s sold by the pound and the bushel…and that’s where the oil spill starts to creep in…you’re eating pounds and bushels of oysters, crabs and shrimp over a period of years…if gulf seafood isn’t safe, it’s bound to catch up with us.

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