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Foods -- Seafood

What effects have coastal development, industrial expansion, and dumping of raw wastes had on the safety of seafood?

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To fully answer this question would take more space than is available here. Obviously, mankind has made major changes in the coastal environment, and m ore often than not the effects have been negative. Certainly, coastal development has reduced the area of approved shellfish-growing waters. However, because of the vigilance of regulatory authorities, safety has not been compromised. In some cases, contamination of coastal waters has resulted in the uptake of pollutants by susceptible species. Once again, regulatory authorities have responded and set action levels for these contaminants. The facts that we have lost approved growing water area and have set action levels for certain environmental contaminants indicate an undesirable situation. It does not mean, however, that safety has been compromised because the levels in question are extremely small, and the per capita consumption of these products is low. It does mean that we must make every effort to reduce all forms of pollution so we do not jeopardize our food resources for the future - not just seafood but all food.

SOURCE: Donn Ward, Ph.D., Joyce Taylor, and David Green, Ph.D., Department of Food Science, NC State University

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