Last evening, "Top Chef" star/producer and restaurateur Tom Colicchio [pictured] told CNN's Campbell Brown that, after having spent time in Grand Isle, La., with several other prominent chefs, he thinks seafood from the Gulf Coast is safe to eat.
"We spent a lot of time with fishermen, fishing families, and talking to them -- just to try to get a better idea of what was going on there," the award-winning Colicchio recalled. "And there's sort of two stories right now that I think you need to tell about the Gulf.
"One is that this is devastating. It's horrible what's going on down there. They need to stop this oil somehow, some way. Hopefully, it will happen with this new well that they're drilling.
"But, on the other hand, there's a lot of hope. There are fishermen that are still fishing... The fishermen that aren't cleaning up the oil, they are actually fishing. And the fish that's coming out of the Gulf is safe."
Colicchio went on to note that the multi-government agency response to the BP oil-spill disaster is well-coordinated, ambitious and ongoing.
"There's five different agencies testing the waters," he noted. "There's tissue samples being taken every day. I think there were over 300 done so far since May."
"And just to be clear," said Brown, "they're not fishing in the oil spill area."
"No, no, no, no," Colicchio replied.
To read the entire transcript of Brown's interview with Colicchio, go to: http://bit.ly/ColicchioCNN.
For the latest information about food-safety issues related to the Gulf Coast oil spill, please visit: http://bit.ly/OilSpillUpdateFDA.
If you have questions or concerns about seafood, or wish to report any seafood you have purchased that you suspect of being contaminated with oil, call 1-888-INFO-FDA.
This endorsement, of sorts, from Chef Colicchio is most reassuring -- and should prove to be a palatable boost to the devastated Gulf Coast economy. Hopefully, it serves Gulf Coast fishermen, restaurants, hoteliers, resort owners and tourism officials well in the short- and long term.
SOURCES: CNN, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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