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Obama to serve Gulf seafood at birthday bash: aide

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 8, 2010
US President Barack Obama is confident in the quality of Gulf of Mexico seafood despite the BP oil spill and will serve some at a party Sunday to mark his 49th birthday, a top aide said.

"Later today at the president's birthday party, he's going to be serving his guests seafood from the Gulf of Mexico," White House energy advisor Carol Browner told NBC.

The White House did not release details about the Sunday event. Obama turned 49 on August 4 while his wife and their daughters were out of town, and he marked the occasion in Chicago with a collection of friends including talk show queen Oprah Winfrey.

The Gulf of Mexico is known for its shrimp, crab, oysters, and dozens of species of fish, but the billion-dollar seafood industry has been devastated by the spill due to the closure of large areas of fishing waters.

On Friday the US Food and Drug Administration, which earlier deemed safe the seafood caught in waters open for fishing, said that some 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants that were poured into the sea to dissipate the massive oil slick were unlikely to be harmful in the food chain.

"There is no information at this time to indicate that they (dispersants) pose a public health threat from exposure through the consumption of seafood," the FDA said.

Earlier this month, BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles also said he would eat Gulf of Mexico seafood after the massive oil spill poured 4.9 million barrels of crude into the water and devastated the region following an explosion on a BP-leased rig in April.

"I absolutely would," he said. "And I would feed it to my family," he said.

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