Obama Administration Moves to Destroy Gulf Coast Oyster Industry

Raw oysters are one of the few pleasures in life a man grows into instead of out of. While a man of my age should have long ago forgotten what being high even feels like, and should be happily totaling tea with his wife at home rather than drinking himself into a stupor at some bar, we still can enjoy a richly decadent meal, which should always start with a dozen oysters served chilled and freshly shucked. A squeeze of lemon, some Tabasco, and a little horseradish is all the treatment the often still living mollusks need before being speared on my fork and consumed. No beer or wine has ever compared to the delicate texture and sweet yet salty and earthy flavor of a freshly shucked oyster. No drug is so euphoric. They are simply one of nature’s great pleasures, cultivated for food since the dawn of man.

Like all of nature’s wonder there is a cruel side. The weak are culled by nature and the bacteria found in oysters, which has been harmless to millions of oyster lovers for thousands of years, can be harmful to people with compromised immune systems. Thus A.I.D.S. victims may want to cook their oysters. But healthy people can and do consume these bacteria laden gifts from the gods as safely as they drink from a bacteria laden bar glass or eat a bacteria laden fast food burger prepared by a person completely covered in substances you wouldn’t want in your mouth.

But Lord Hopenchange and his administration think the 15 people who are already dying of immune deficiencies who then get infected through oysters is 15 too many! Either that or they’re planning on destroying a key industry in the red states out of spite:

Eager to deliver on their pledge to improve food safety, federal officials say sanitizing oysters is a simple way to save lives. But oystermen, state officials and their representatives on Capitol Hill say the federal government is overreaching and aiming to destroy a gastronomical delight.

Most of the raw oysters eaten in the United States carry vibrio vulnificus, but healthy consumers are unlikely to be affected by it. However, for those with diabetes, liver disease, cancer, AIDS and other chronic conditions, the infection can be deadly. About 30 cases of the infection are traced to Gulf Coast oysters annually, and half of those cases are fatal, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The debate over the mollusks affects not only oyster shacks along the Gulf but raw bars around the country. The Gulf Coast supplies 67 percent of oysters consumed nationwide, and many of those oysters end up in Maryland, Virginia and other places where demand is high and the local supply is down, said Dave Burrage, a fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center.

Why should consumers have the responsibility in America to know if their bodies, already fighting off a variety of largely self-imposed medical conditions like diabetes (being fat) A.I.D.S. (unprotected sex, sharing needles)  and liver disease (drinking and drugging), should be able to handle what they buy and put in their own mouths? That’s not Obama’s America! Since those people can’t make those decisions let’s take the decisions out of everyone’s hands! It’s only fair!

“There’s just a very clear public health case,” said Michael Taylor, the top food safety official at the FDA. “Vibrio is one of the most horrific infections we know about. Fifteen people a year die from this. It’s excruciating. And the people who don’t die suffer life-changing injuries. But we can prevent this.”

Federal officials, who are emphasizing food safety improvements, point to California as an example. Between 1991 and 2001, 40 people in California died of vibrio infection. In 2003, the state banned raw untreated oysters from the Gulf during warm months and fatalities dropped to zero, Taylor said.

There’s over 30,000 car fatalities every year but the government isn’t stopping people from driving cars. But stopping people from driving cars won’t help collapse gulf state economies:

The oyster industry says that antibacterial processing, which is similar to pasteurization, will ruin the taste of raw oysters, triple their cost and place undue burdens on a business that has deep cultural and culinary roots.

“This is unprecedented — how they’re trying to regulate shellfish,” said Al Sunseri, co-owner of P&J Oyster of New Orleans, the nation’s oldest continuously operating oyster dealer. In the 133 years that Sunseri’s family has been selling oysters, it has never been linked to a vibrio illness, he said.

He said the FDA is unfairly targeting oysters. “If they’re a public health agency and if they feel they can bring illnesses down, why aren’t they requiring fruits and vegetables be irradiated?” he said. 

Good question. That’s because it would affect blue state economies to do so. This is an attack on industries run in conservative areas who serve a blue collar clientele. Typical elitism. But then of course the supporters of this overreach try to pull on your heart strings with the touching tale of a moron:

Darrell Dishon, 40, is not so certain. He tried oysters for the first time at a raw bar in Panama City, Fla., in July, two days before his wedding. He came out of a coma two weeks later, with his legs amputated. Dishon, who is diabetic, said he had no idea that eating raw oysters posed a health risk.

“I just don’t want this to happen to someone else,” said Dishon, who lives in Lebanon, Ohio. “You sit down for dinner with your family, and the next thing you know you’re in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. Or worse.”

I’m pretty sure his doctor told him to stay away from raw shellfish since his immune system was compromised, and that his immune system was compromised because he wasn’t following the simple instructions diabetics are given to keep healthy. But why should he? Isn’t it better to just ruin the enjoyment of a centuries old food for millions of people than expect people with compromised immune systems to take care of themselves?

I mean aside from those evil Republican voting red staters who’s going to suffer?

One thought on “Obama Administration Moves to Destroy Gulf Coast Oyster Industry

  1. Pingback: Oysters: The Fox News of Mollusks? : Jenn Q. Public

Comments are closed.