February 26, 2020

Maine Closes Area at Penobscot River to Crab and Lobster Harvest

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has closed a seven square mile area at the mouth of the Penobscot River to crab and lobster harvest for a minimum of two years. This closure will take effect February 22, 2014. Commissioner Patrick Keliher said, "this closure is being taken as a precautionary measure in response to information the Department of Maine Resources recently received about mercury contamination in muscle tissue from lobsters found in this area." The information is from a federal court ordered study prompted from a lawsuit against a chemical company, HoltraChem Manufacturing, that allegedly dumped mercury into the river. State officials were briefed about the high levels of mercury contamination in 2010. The Maine Department of Marine Resources said it didn't find out … [Read more...]

High Mercury, Dioxin Levels Prompt Texas Fish Advisory

High mercury and dioxin levels in fish from the Neches River Basin have prompted the Texas Department of State Health Services to issue a consumer advisory. Six species are named in the advisory which covers the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, the B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir and the stretch of river between the State Highway 7 bridge west of Lufkin and the Highway 96 bridge near Evadale. Eating fish with elevated levels of mercury or dioxin can cause illness. Children under 12 and women who are nursing, pregnant or who may become pregnant are at special risk for mercury and dioxin in food as these toxins can affect the nervous systems of unborn and young children. Swimming in these waters should not pose a health risk, authorities said. Women of childbearing age and children 12 and under should … [Read more...]

Texas Issues Warning About Fish Contaminated with Mercury

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued a warning telling people not to consume or to limit consmption of certain fish caught in all waters off Texas because of unsafe mercury levels. Mercury can damage the central nervous system, particularly in unborn children. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include liver damage, tingling of the skin, loss of coordination, visual and hearing impairment, and slurred speech. Women of childbearing age, nursing mothers, and children 12 years old and younger should not consume blackfin tuna, blue marlin, bonito, crevalle jack, king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and wahoo. Women past childbearing age and adult men can eat everything except blue marlin 1 meal per week or 2 meals per month. A meal includes, at most, an 8 ounce serving of … [Read more...]

Oceana Reports Seafood Fraud in New York City, Elsewhere

Oceana.org, an international organization focused on ocean conservation, has released a study that shows widespread seafood fraud in New York City and elsewhere around the country. Fraud can include exchanging a lower quality fish for a more desirable species, short weighting, and false information about the product. In fact, they state that everywhere seafood is tested, fraud is found. Mislabeling was found in 48% of seafood products sold in Boston, in 55% of products sold in Los Angeles, and in 31% of seafood sold in Miami. In New York City, 39% of the 142 seafood samples collected and DNA tested from grocery stores, sushi venus, and restaurants were mislabeled, violating FDA guidelines. Dr. Kimberly Warner, report author and senior scientist at Oceana, said in a statement, "it's … [Read more...]

Senator Boxer Asks FDA to Address Seafood Fraud

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, urging the agency to increase enforcement efforts to address seafood fraud. In many cases, fish and other seafood is deliberately mislabeled and sold two consumers. The Senator said, "it is unacceptable that proven fraud is occurring on such a widespread basis. Seafood fraud is not only deceptive marketing, but it can pose serious health concerns, particularly for pregnant women seeking to limit exposure to heavy metals or individuals with serious allergies to certain types of fish." Since 2011, the group Oceana collected samples of fish from grocery stores, restaurants, and sushi facilities and genetically tested them. In Miami and Fort Lauderdale, 31% of the seafood tested by the group was mislabeled. In … [Read more...]

Tuna in School Lunches May Pose Danger to Children

The Mercury Policy Project has issued the first ever report on testing for mercury in tuna sold to the nation's schools. The report, titled "Tuna Surprise: Mercury in School Lunches", states that canned tuna is the largest source of methyl mercury in the U.S. diet and is a major source of mercury exposure for children." U.S. children eat twice as much tuna as they do of any fish or seafood. This high consumption rate, coupled with children's low body weights, can results in doses of mercury that exceed federal safety standards. No previous research has documented mercury levels in tuna served in schools. The Project bought 59 samples of canned tuna in 11 states around the country and tested them for mercury. The average mercury level in light tuna was 0.118 micrograms/gram, which was … [Read more...]

Texas Issues Fish Consumption Advisory for Mercury

The Texas Department of State Health Services has issued an advisory warning consumers not to consume blue marlin caught in all waters off the Texas coast. And they said that women of childbearing age and children under the age of 12 should not eat swordfish caught off the Texas coast. The fish have unsafe levels of mercury. Testing revealed that the fish from the northwestern Gulf of Mexico had mercury at concentrations above the DSHS health guidelines of no more than 0.7 mg/kg. The blue marlin mercury levels were 12.9 mg/kg, more than 18 times the recommended limit. The levels in swordfish were 1.18 mg/kg, more than 1.6 times the recommended levels. Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can cause birth defects and harm to the central nervous system. Symptoms of prolonged … [Read more...]

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