Louisiana Seafood Still Safe to Eat; Average Consumer Could Eat 63 lbs of Louisiana Shrimp, Each Day for 5 Years

Release Date: 02/10/2011

Louisiana state officials confirm seafood safety; state has tested more than 1,000 composite samples of Louisiana seafood since start of BP oil spill

(Feb. 10, 2011) – The average consumer could eat 63 pounds of shrimp each day for five years before reaching the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “levels of concern” for oil contamination according to Louisiana state officials. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) announced today that levels of contaminants being found in Gulf seafood are so low that the average consumer would have to consume extreme amounts of seafood before approaching a level that approaches a health risk, according to the FDA.

State officials with LDWF and the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) examined the levels of contaminates associated with the BP oil spill, called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), being found in Louisiana seafood that have been collected throughout the spill and determined that the levels were so low that they do not pose a risk to consumers. The average consumer could eat any of the following amounts of seafood each day for up to five years without exceeding the health risks for contamination:

  • 63 pounds of peeled Louisiana shrimp, or 1,575 jumbo shrimp,
  • 5 pounds of Louisiana oyster meat, or 130 individual oysters, or
  • 9 pounds of Louisiana fish, or 18 8-ounce fish filets.

LDWF and the Department of Health and Hospitals have tested more than 1,000 individual seafood samples for contamination associated with the BP oil spill since May 9, 2010. Seafood samples often include more than one specimen. For example, one shrimp sample may include as many as 100 individual shrimp that are then ground into a composite paste and sampled. This composite sampling method provides a more complete picture of the health of seafood off Louisiana’s coast.

All of the seafood samples tested by Louisiana and federal officials have been safe for consumption.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information contact Olivia Watkins at owatkins@wlf.la.gov (225) 610-8860.