Editor’s picks: Congress, oystermen unite

Here’s a recap of this week’s must-read SeafoodSource news stories, commentaries and market reports:

• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t budging on its plan to require post-harvesting processing on Gulf oysters, which would effectively ban the sale of live product for several months a year. That was the message Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and other lawmakers relayed after meeting with two “high ranking” FDA officials on Tuesday. But the Gulf oyster industry won’t go down without a fight, and it has Congress on its side. Vitter pledged to keep a dialog going between the FDA, lawmakers and the industry and hasn’t rule out legislative action. “Congressmen attack FDA oyster plan” was this week’s most read news story.

• Three commentaries this week addressed the concept of sustainability. Mike Urch kicked it off on Monday by questioning just how knowledgeable British consumers are about seafood sustainability. Lisa Duchene followed on Tuesday by explaining how important it is for independent retailers and chain supermarkets to communicate seafood sustainability to Americans consumers. And Nicki Holmyard finished it up on Thursday by dissecting Charles Clover’s new Web site, Fish2Fork.com, which rates restaurants on the sustainability of the seafood they serve.

• Chris Loew on Monday caught up with the surimi-division manager of the world’s largest seafood company. Hiroshi Tsukano of Maruha Nichiro Seafoods shared his near-term outlook for the global surimi market, including the impact of fluctuating U.S. Alaska pollock surimi prices, which have finally leveled off. Meanwhile, in France, the surimi market is showing signs of maturing, according to new data from French food industry association Adepale.

• Ruby Tuesday is saying “hello” to seafood. The 670-restaurant casual chain this week debuted an expanded menu featuring eight new seafood dishes, including Salmon Florentine, Lobster New Orleans and Avocado Shrimp Salad. Additionally, more quick-service and fast-casual chains have added seafood to their menus this fall, including Panera Bread Co., Au Bon Pain and even Dunkin’ Donuts, explained Christine Blank in her feature story, “Fast-casual chains look to seafood”.

• This year’s king crab season has everyone guessing, according to this week’s market report, “King crab players ponder positions”. Lower U.S. quotas, questionable Russian supplies and a sensitive global economy may keep demand for king crab at bay. However, Japanese inventories are low, so things may change quickly.

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