Seafood “safe to eat’
PHUKET: The island’s health chief has confirmed that seafood supplies are safe to eat, though he has also reminded people not to eat raw seafood.
Dr Wanchai Sattayawutthipong, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Health Office, told the Gazette that every kind of meat should be well cooked before being served. Such precautions apply at all times, not just now, he said.
“I think it will take a while [before people start eating fish again]. It’s similar to the situation with chicken ‘flu; we stressed that people could eat chicken safely if it was cooked, but they didn’t,” Dr. Wanchai added .
Benjawan Tampanuwat, owner of a fleet a deep-sea fishing vessels operating out of Phuket and Ranong, admitted that there is currently a slump in seafood sales because people worry that fish may have eaten corpses washed out to sea by the tsunami..
“It’s a mis perception,” he said. “Most of the fish comes from the open ocean, far from shore, while most of the bodies that were in the sea have already floated back to shore,” she said.
She added that she did not believe the cost of seafood would rise.
Sinthi Daengsakul, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Fishery Office, told the Gazette that some 1,200 boats based in Phuket were damaged, of which 1,000 were fishing boats.
“We are collecting damage reports from them now and will present the results to the provincial authorities for them to approve aid grants,” K. Sinthi added.
“There may be some upward pressure on the price of seafood while the boats are being repaired, but I don’t think that will last long,” he added.
He noted that many people are not eating fish at present but agreed with K. Benjawan that the risks inherent in eating fish are no greater now than at any time in the past.
“Most [carnivorous] fish would not eat corpses,” he said. “They would rather eat each other.”
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