As a precautionary measure, I, along with State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry, have ordered the closure of six oyster harvesting areas along the eastern coast of Louisiana. It is likely additional oyster beds will be closed as the oil spill makes its way toward the coast.  LDH continues to monitor the water, and will, prior to entry of oil into an oyster area, close the area in an abundance of caution to ensure no product is harvested that may have been exposed to oil product.  Oysters commercially harvested from an open oyster harvesting area, and available for consumption, have not been exposed to oil product, and thus, are safe. Oysters exposed to the spill will not be permitted to be harvested, and thus are not available for consumer purchase.  LDH stands by the quality of Louisiana seafood as a healthy and delicious choice for consumers.

LDH has sampled water and oyster meat from several beds not impacted by the oil spill in order to determine baseline data on the water quality in those beds.  This data will be used as beds are considered for reopening at a later date, upon removal of any oil from the surface, to ensure no oysters are harvested that don’t meet the highest standards that existed before the spill.

Oyster and seafood products are being monitored by LDH and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, working together to ensure the quality of our seafood safety.  LDH encourages consumers to continue enjoying the finest seafood in the world.