Ag. Comm urges more funding for seafood testing

MONTGOMERY, AL  Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks met with Governor Bob Riley Tuesday to talk about the importance of the seafood industry to Alabama's economy and to those who live and work along the Gulf Coast.

In an effort to rebuild consumer confidence in Alabama's seafood industry, Commissioner Sparks requested Gov. Riley's assistance in securing funding for testing by the Department of Agriculture & Industries of seafood harvested from the Gulf waters.

"As part of the effort toward the Gulf Coast's recovery from the devastation of the BP oil spill, I have asked Gov. Bob Riley to help me secure funding that would allow the Department labs to perform additional seafood testing in Alabama," Sparks said.  "Consumer safety has been one of my top priorities since I've been the Commissioner of Agriculture and it continues to be a top priority. This will not only make sure that consumers are protected, but it will also ensure that consumer confidence in our seafood industry is restored.  I feel the meeting with Gov. Riley was very positive and that we share the same goal for the Gulf Coast; a full and healthy recovery."

Along with other food safety tests, laboratories with the Department of Agriculture & Industries will be testing for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in seafood products. Since 2000, the Department has been testing for banned antibiotics in imported seafood.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama Department of Agriculture