NPR Story
2:30 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

U.S.-China Talks On Shellfish Ban Lead To New Testing For Contaminants

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 9:15 am

U.S. officials say they will develop a new testing protocol to detect certain contaminants in shellfish, following their meeting with the Chinese government to discuss an end to that country's ban on importing shellfish from most of the U.S. West Coast.

U.S. officials said during a briefing with reporters Friday that the Chinese are satisfied with U.S. 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, Wash., last fall.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Paul Doremus 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," he said.

Doremus said it was 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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