President Obama: Gulf Seafood Is Safe : The Two-Way President Obama: Gulf Seafood Is Safe
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President Obama: Gulf Seafood Is Safe

President Barack Obama, with Alabama Gov. Bob Riley at his side, said Gulf of Mexico seafood was safe and he was taking steps to make sure it stayed that way. Dave Martin/FR159046 AP hide caption

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Dave Martin/FR159046 AP

During a break in his Gulf Coast tour Monday, President Barack Obama announced an effort to monitor the safety of seafood harvested from the Gulf of Mexico.

It was meant to be a confidence-boosting measure for some consumers worried about the safety of Gulf seafood. The Gulf Coast fishing industry has been concerned since April when the oil spill began that its product would be tainted figuratively if not literally by the petroleum spewing from BP's broken well on the Gulf seafloor.

An excerpt from Obama's comments to the news media:

Dealing with the aftermath of the spill also means protecting the health and safety of the folks who live and work here at Theodore, here in Alabama and here on the Gulf Coast.  As part of this effort, I'm announcing a comprehensive, coordinated and multi-agency initiative to ensure that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat.

Now, I had some of that seafood for lunch, and it was delicious. But we want to make sure that the food industry down here as much as possible is getting the the protection and the certification that they need to continue their businesses.

So this is important for consumers who need to know that their food is safe, but it's also important for the fishermen and processors who need to be able to sell their products with confidence.

So let me be clear. Seafood from the Gulf today is safe to eat. But we need to make sure that it stays that way.

And that's why, beyond closing off waters that have been or are likely to be exposed to oil, the FDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are increasing inspections of seafood processors, strengthening surveillance programs and monitoring fish that are caught just outside of restricted areas.  And we're also coordinating our efforts with the states, which are implementing similar plans...