Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 8:45 AM
Oil Spills and Seafood Safety: Advancements in Technologies for Rapid Detection of Public Health Threats From Oil Contaminants and Dispersants
Room 333 (New Orleans Convention Center )
In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, there was concern about the risk to human health through consumption of contaminated seafood from the region. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in collaboration with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency and Gulf Coast States worked together to ensure that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico was safe to eat by developing seafood safety criteria, monitoring procedures, re-opening protocols, as well as seafood surveillance monitoring plans. As part of this seafood safety assessment, edible tissues of seafood collected in state and federal waters were tested for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dispersants using sensory testing, as well as chemical analyses. Initially, seafood from the Gulf was analyzed for PAHs using a comprehensive gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) method developed by NOAA. The “NOAA method” is reliable, sensitive, and provides reproducible results for a wide range of seafood species, however, it takes 3-5 days to complete a sample set containing 12-14 field samples. To increase the analytical capacities of laboratories testing seafood from the Gulf, FDA developed and validated high-performance liquid chromatography/fluorescence and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry methods in conjunction with NOAA that accurately and precisely measure chemical compounds, including dispersants, associated with this oil spill event. Thousands of seafood samples collected during reopening and surveillance in the Gulf, as well as those obtained dockside and in the marketplace have been analyzed using these analytical methods. While chemical compounds associated with the oil spill have been detected in seafood samples using these various analytical methods, none were present in edible tissues at levels that approached levels of concern for human consumers of seafood products from the Gulf.