Public Health Loses Out to Politics in Oyster Decision

Statement of David Plunkett, Senior Staff Attorney

November 13, 2009

Public health lost out to the politics of special interests with FDA's announcement today that it may delay a requirement for processing Gulf Coast oysters to destroy the deadly bacteria Vibrio vulnificus, pending the findings of a feasibility study. A group of Gulf Coast Senators and Representatives weighed in on the side of a small but vocal industry in their states and won. Unfortunately this political victory for the Gulf Coast oyster industry is a health tragedy for their customers, and the action condemns scores of consumers to serious illness and death from this potent pathogen. This small portion of the shellfish industry should not have a free pass from FDA to sell adulterated and potentially deadly oysters to the public.


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