Oil from the explosion of Deepwater Horizon is flooding the waters of some of the most productive coastal fishing areas in the world, says ABC News, so how will the FDA ensure that no oily fish make it into the food system? They’re gonna smell it. With their noses.
“The human nose is a powerful instrument,” said Steve Otwell, who leads the University of Florida’s professional seafood sensory school. Otwell will help train about 25 persons from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the federal Food and Drug Administration on the Gainesville campus beginning in a few days.
He went on to say that there will be naysayers, but human noses are quick, cheap and pretty reliable.
“You will have the purists, and the lawyers, and everyone else say we need to have a very sensitive chemical method to really determine what’s there,” he told ABC. “And that’s absolutely true. But the amount of time, the lack of such instrumentation, and the costs make it impractical to depend on that technology to scrutinize the variety of seafood and the variety of areas that’s involved with this particular spill.”
“It is a science and the human nose can indeed detect levels that can provide us with a safety level, but the nose has to be trained. And some noses are better than others,” he said.
Of course the pelicans don’t have the FDA watching out for them, so they’re out of luck.