Regulation May Eliminate Raw Oysters in Gulf
By Larry Edger
The FDA has announced a proposal to require oyster harvesters to "process" oysters after harvesting to eliminate any potential bacteria. Citing eight deaths in the United States in 2008 linked to oyster bacteria, the FDA thinks regulation is important. Of course, they forget that more people died from choking on Salt Water Taffy at fairs and carnivals in 2008. Maybe we should ban taffy!
And then there are hundreds of people who died from drinking rubbing alcohol. Maybe we should ban alcohol. And then there are the people who died from salmonella from eating raw chicken. Maybe we need to ban chicken or make grocers cook it at least a couple of hours before selling it. Then there are the people who died from just plain over eating at one meal while indulging some food pleasure - those deaths in 2008 were in the dozens! E-coli killed a few dozen people from hamburger. We didn't hear proposals to ban raw hamburger!
It is a fact that Gulf oysters MAY contain bacteria. It is also a fact that normal healthy people are not affected by low levels of bacteria. The elderly, children and people who already have low bacteria tolerance can get sick from oysters as well as numerous other foods. Current regulations require signs and notes on menus to warn people who may be susceptible.
Raw oysters are part of our heritage going back to the early settlers who relied on them for proteins. In fact, the accounts of all food consumption all along the coast since the 1700's include oysters as a daily food. Placing a ban on raw oysters will not keep people from harvesting and eating them - they will merely no longer buy them from reputable businesses who handle them properly.
In Florida, if the six month ban on raw oysters goes through, it will devastate an already suffering industry. The cost to add equipment to process the oysters will not only double the cost, but remove texture and flavor as we know them today. Most oystermen cannot afford the cost of adding processing equipment to a simple fishery business.
Bigger government means more regulation. Personal responsibility is no longer necessary, since a great number people are relying on the government to provide, assist and properly regulate every aspect of our lives. Where does it stop?
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