People of Northwest Public Radio
Fri March 28, 2014
China Wants Better Testing For Arsenic In US Shellfish Exports
For the first time, U.S. officials reported on recent meetings in Beijing to discuss China's ban on shellfish imports from most of the West Coast.
China instituted the ban after officials there found high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning in a geoduck clam from Alaska and high levels of inorganic arsenic in a geoduck from southern Puget Sound.
U.S. Officials say the Chinese are satisfied with American testing methods for paralytic shellfish poisoning, but they’re still concerned about arsenic.
High concentrations of inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen, were found in the skin of geoduck harvested near Tacoma last fall.
Americans don’t eat the skin, but the Chinese often do.
Paul Doremus is an administrator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said the U.S. will develop a new testing protocol for inorganic arsenic in shellfish.
"Ultimately it is up to China to decide whether they are satisfied that our testing mechanisms and overall protocols meets their standards," says Doremus.
Doremus says it is impossible to say when the ban might be lifted.
U.S. officials will meet within a week to put together the new testing protocols.
The ban has been in effect since November of 2013, costing the industry hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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