Bits and pieces: The BP oil spill edition, 7.19.10

Photo provided by Greenpeace USA via Flickr

I feel like I wrote about the BP oil spill ages ago.

Too bad it’s still in the “current events” category.

Since we’re on day I’ve-lost-count of the spill, this week’s selection of food news shows how the catastrophe has affected what we eat.

  • Folks who depended on the Gulf’s seafood as their main source of protein and primary income have had to turn to charitable donations and processed meats to supplement their diets, according to an article from the Associated Press. People aren’t starving, the article states, “but they’re forced to pay for protein they used to get for free. And not the kind they want,” such as hot dogs and hamburgers.
  • NPR reports that officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Food and Drug Administration are running a seafood safety testing operation in the Gulf, which includes “training ‘seafood sniffers’ to assess samples for possible contamination.” According to NPR, state employees and professors have been called into sniffing duty, which is the first line of defense in detecting tainted seafood that smells “aromatic and quite unpleasant.”
  • Scientists say early evidence from the Gulf indicate that the oil spill has altered the food web, or food chain, of the region “by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment,” according to an article from the Associated Press via the Courier-Journal. And it could get a lot worse:

If such impacts continue, the scientists warn of a grim reshuffling of sealife that could over time cascade through the ecosystem and imperil the region’s multibillion-dollar fishing industry.

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