U.S. Sen. David Vitter today applauded the decision by the Food and Drug Administration to delay implementation of a regulation banning the consumption of untreated raw oysters from the Gulf of Mexico.
The FDA today announced that it would instead commission a study to explore ways of making oysters safer and reduce the instances of illnesses attributed to Vibro vulnificus. The study would also consider the economic impact on the oyster industry.
"This is great news for Louisiana's oyster producers, and for all of us who enjoy fresh Gulf oysters," said Vitter. "Over the past few weeks, I've repeatedly expressed to the FDA my feelings that this was not an appropriate course of action and I'm glad that they've decided to consider an option before moving ahead with these regulations that would've had a serious, negative impact on Louisiana's seafood industry."
Vitter has been working with other members of the U.S. Senate to convince the FDA to reverse their decision to move ahead with this regulation. This week, Vitter introduced the Gulf Oyster Industry Jobs Protection Act, which would prohibit funding for FDA implementation of the post-harvest processing requirement or other regulations that would prevent the sale and consumption of fresh oysters.
Additionally, the bill would require that any future rules, regulations and guidelines affecting the harvesting, processing or transportation of domestic seafood be accompanied by detailed analyses submitted to Congress.
"We need to explore ways to better educate the public about the risks associated with consuming raw oysters and we certainly need to look into ways of reducing illnesses attributed to this bacteria. But banning the sale of raw oysters wasn't the way to go at all," said Vitter.