China has banned shellfish imports from the US’ West Coast region over a reportedly minor shellfish poisoning scare, putting divers out of work, and sparking fears over a months-long industry-wide shutdown. Today reports:
The Chinese government imposed the ban after discovering that recent shipments of geoduck clams from Northwest waters had high levels of arsenic and a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, KUOW public radio reported.
The Chinese government says the ban that started last week will continue indefinitely. Clams, oysters and all other two-shelled bivalves harvested off Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California are affected.
“They’ve never done anything like that, where they would not allow shellfish from this entire area based on potentially two areas or maybe just one area. We don’t really know yet,” said Mr Jerry Borchert of the Washington Department of Health told KUOW.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will negotiate with the Chinese government on an agreement to reopen the shellfish trade. NOAA stopped issuing certification for shellfish exports last Friday.
“It’s had an incredible impact,” said Mr George Hill, the geoduck harvest coordinator for Puget Sound’s Suquamish Tribe. “A couple thousand divers out of work right now.”
If the ban isn’t lifted come Chinese New Year, the Pacific Northwest’s shellfish industry will reportedly lose out big, as it’s during this time that Chinese customers purchase record amounts of geoduck (that clam with the trunk that puts Ron Jeremy to shame).
The harshness of the clampdown shows how seriously Chinese officials
want you to think they take food safety, and perhaps distract from the fact that the food grown on home soil and culled from the nation’s “sparkling” waters is ten times worse.
It looks like we may have to increasingly turn to those “totally parasite and heavy metal-free” bivalves slung on Shouning Road.