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Jan 3, 2010 11:45 AM by Sarah Rosario

Chinese Seafood Could Be Dangerous

A public safety marketing campaign will go into effect January 1st warning Louisianans about the dangers of Chinese seafood. The safety campaign is a mandate from Governor Bobby Jindal. It's a bill that was passed last session.

The bill is the work state representative Fred mills. After extensive research he found that less than one percent of the seafood that enters the United States from China is only visually inspected and a small percentage of that is actually tested. Test confirm the seafood is harvested in oxidation ponds, which is where waste is collected. Because of this, the governor highly recommends eating state grown and caught seafood.

This means more business for people like Don Benoit. He and his wife own D and T Crawfish in Abbeville. At their business the crawfish is brought on trucks, weighed and then added to stacks. The crawfish he gets are from right here in Acadiana. That's now a huge benefit now that Chinese seafood could be dangerous. "I think it's good for the industry; the next step would be to increase the number of peeling plants," said Benoit.

With few whole boiled crawfish, the bulk product Chinese bring to America is tail meat. As of January 1st, warning labels must be put on menus, tables and walls of restaurants detailing the risks of eating Chinese seafood. The dangers include a number of health risks including cancer. That same risk isn't found in the local product. "Anytime we can have anything where more consumers are buying products we raise, sell and grow locally, it's a benefit to everyone in this area," said Crawfish Farmer Clay Menard.

The bill confirms because the fish come from ponds full of waste, they're injected with tons of anti-biotic and anti-fungals in order to grow. Even after the seafood is cooked it can still harm the human body.

In order to sell tail meat the task for local farmers is to find peeling plants. Right now only the top 26 plants receive tax money from all imported seafood. So now, smaller peeling plants no longer want to do it.

Crawfish season began November 1st. Right now the cold weather and rain are really affecting the supply. The demand however for crawfish is great and the quality is projected to be good. Farmers are hoping harvest will pick up within the next couple of weeks.

Sarah Rosario

srosario@katctv.com

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