Seafood safety tests conducted by FDA throughout the country, are, due to limited resources, targeted at the most likely violators, but they highlight the magnitude of the seafood safety problem.
In 1989, for instance, the FDA conducted 7,652 laboratory analyses of domestic and imported seafood for biological hazards and chemical contaminants.
Most of the tests, or 6,002, were of imports. Of the 4,939 imported fisheries products sampled for biological hazards, such as Salmonella and Listeria, 38% were considered contaminated. Another 48% of the 1,063 imports analyzed for chemical contaminants were found to be in violation.
The domestic samples, though much more limited, fared better. For biological hazards, 21% of the 1,109 were positive. Only 3.7% of the 541 domestic seafood samples tested for chemical contaminants contained illegal levels.