The PCB Cookbook

5 Dec 2011

Wearing their top chef’s hats, Ifremer, the General Department for Food, the Management of Maritime Fishing, and waterlife have made for you, just in time for New Year’s celebrations, a dish of the highest quality. It is recommended that you consume crabs fished from the depths of the Seine’s bay, and no longer adhere to the opinion of the National Agency for the Sanitation of Food, Work, and the Environment (ANSES) from May 13, 2011, and to forget the prefect of Haut-Normandie’s decree from July 29, 2011. According to the former, the crabs were considered not to conform to the regulated standards of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and dioxin content, and the latter forbid both consumption and marketing.

The new opinion from ANSES, released November 16, 2011, and the new prefectural mandate from November 24, 2011 threw fresh light upon the contamination of the crabs from the Seine’s bay. The refined gourmets must now sort the white meat from the dark. The latter may be up to twenty times more contaminated than the former. It does well to the carapace to receive blows from surgical tools to separate the good from the bad. The cooks from ANSES recommend following scrupulously the barely accessible ”Guides to Practicing Good Hygeine” to avoid contaminating the white meat from the crab’s thorax with the brown.

Well, it is a good deal for the fishers of the Seine’s bay. The reauthorization to return to the markets is going to facilitate the acceptability of the imminent authorization to dump 2 million meters³ of sludge containing PCB from the deepening of the channel of the Seine between Le Havre and Rouen, right in the middle of the Seine’s bay.

The situation is not so good for the crabs: the effects of their contamination by PCB on their health and their capacity to reproduce are not always studied, and these new opinions are going to stimulate the marketing of crab claws, to the detriment of the rest. After the practice of finning (cutting the fin from shark and sending it back into the water in its mutilated state), the practice of clawing (cutting off the pincers) is becoming widely accepted, favoring in this way the dumping of dismembered crabs, incapable of moving or feeding, into the depths.

Bad news as well for the consumers, who will buy by the kilo live or cooked crabs without being deducted from the important percentage of dark meat, clearly equivalent to PCB waste.

Thanks to the wand of Ifremer, another nutritious miracle is experimented on in the laboratories and the furnaces that must be made available soon under a new label: ”The Seine Bay’s Polluted Sardines”. Banned from being marketed since Febuary 8, 2010 because of PCB contamination, and rid of their internal organs, they will soon be, in the form of fillet, returning to the markets after a tasting from the committee of experts from ANSES and the endorsement of the prefect of Haute-Normandie.

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