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NOAA: Gulf seafood tested so far is safe to eat

APALACHICOLA, Fla. - Shrimp, grouper, tuna and other seafood snatched from the fringes of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico are safe to eat, according to a federal agency inspecting the catch.

Roughly 400 samples of commonly consumed species caught mostly in open waters - and some from closed areas - have been chemically tested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. No unhealthy levels of contaminants have been found in any so far, officials say. NOAA and the Food and Drug Administration began catching seafood species in the Gulf within days of the April 20 BP rig explosion off Louisiana that generated a massive oil spill.

The agency is mostly looking for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the most common carcinogenic components of crude oil. The first line of defense in keeping tainted seafood from the market has been closing about one-third of federal Gulf waters to commercial fishing.

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