Is it safe to eat Gulf seafood after the BP oil spill?  

Oyster Dressing
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen

About Our Expert

If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

Send Marge your cooking questions

Like Marge on Facebook

Browse Marge Perry's Recipes

Video Tips from Marge

Is it safe to eat Gulf seafood after the BP oil spill? I want to serve oysters and shrimp over the holidays, but I am worried about making anyone sick.

Oysters, shrimp, crab and fin fish from the Gulf coast are safe to eat, according to the FDA and several unbiased organizations and researchers. While few of us were comforted by the "sniff test" that dominated headlines last summer, Tim Fitzgerald, Senior Policy Specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund (a nonprofit organization that is not affiliated with any government agency) assures me that "the scientific rigor of the testing is good". Dr. Fitzgerald, who tends to be more precautionary than the FDA, says "I would eat raw oysters from the Gulf." The only health effects from the contaminants, says Fitzgerald, occur "if you eat seafood from the Gulf continuously and over a long period of time". Since the average American eats a paltry five ounces of seafood a week-- upwards of 80% of which is imported-- this is a non-issue.

It is also important to note that by serving Gulf seafood, you are helping the fishermen in the Gulf—many of whose livelihoods may be more endangered by the spill than was any creature of the sea.

Recipe: Oyster Dressing from Southern Living

Marge Perry
Dec, 2010

Printed from:

Copyright © 2014 Time Inc. Lifestyle Group. All Rights Reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (Your California Privacy Rights). Ad Choices