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[UPDATE] Survey Says Consumers Wary of Seafood; Scott, Putnam Say "It's Safe"

By: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Release, AP; The News Service of Florida
By: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Release, AP; The News Service of Florida

Tallahassee, FL - April 20, 2011 -

Despite repeated studies showing no detectable effects from the BP oil spill, Florida seafood continues to get a black eye in the minds of Florida consumers, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Florida Department of Agriculture.

The survey found that 63 percent of Floridians have concerns over seafood safety, up from 48 percent in January.

Gov. Rick Scott said he hopes to change that perception through advertising and marketing efforts like the tour of the Panhandle he’s on this week. “We know that it is safe,” said Scott, who planned to attend a fish fry Tuesday evening. “The bigger concern would be if it wasn’t. …. Our job is to make everyone in the world know that that not only does it taste good but it’s safe.”

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Tallahassee, FL - April 19, 2011 -

In the one year since Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has collected and tested 230 seafood samples and results show that Florida Gulf seafood is safe to eat, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told reporters today.

“The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is aggressively testing Florida seafood to ensure it is safe to eat,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Our findings show that Florida seafood is safe and plentiful. I encourage consumers to put Florida seafood back on their plates and back in their diet.”

The Department’s Division of Food Safety is the leader among Gulf coast states in testing seafood for effects of the oil spill. The Department’s Chemical Residue Lab has screened more than 230 samples to date, including finfish, shrimp, crabs, lobsters and oysters, and less than 11 percent were found to have traces of possible oil contaminants. All findings of traces are less than 1/1000th of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) levels of concern.

Summaries of the findings from the Chemical Residue lab are routinely posted online. For the most recent summary of seafood analyses, visit http://www.fl-seafood.com/videos/flash/Gulf_safe.htm. More detailed information is also available upon request.

Recently, Commissioner Putnam announced an agreement with BP for $20 million over the next three years to enhance the Department’s testing capabilities and bolster its marketing efforts to raise awareness for the safety of Gulf seafood. $10 million will be granted to the Division of Food Safety to build on its routine testing for oil, dispersants and metals by increasing its technological capabilities and workforce. The remaining $10 million will be granted to the Division of Marketing to reassure consumers and commercial buyers that Florida seafood products are safe and delicious.

Commissioner Putnam’s commitment to helping restore confidence in Florida’s Gulf seafood will be reinforced this week as he travels to Florida’s Gulf Coast to provide an update on seafood testing results and speak with Floridians who were impacted by the oil spill. Governor Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater will also join Commissioner Putnam in Panama City on Tuesday for their twice monthly Cabinet meeting and other Florida Gulf-focused events.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says testing shows Florida seafood is safe to eat a year after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Putnam said on Monday that less than 11 percent of 320 seafood
samples tested by the state had traces of possible oil
contaminants.

Those samples had less than a thousandth of a percent of the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration's levels of concern.

A BP well exploded and began leaking oil into the gulf last
April.

The company recently agreed to pay Florida $20 million over the
next three years for seafood testing and marketing.


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