FDA backs off oyster ban after strong criticism

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is backing off a plan to ban raw oysters from the Gulf of Mexico during warm weather.

The FDA acted after meeting with fierce resistance from the oyster industry and Gulf Coast lawmakers. Instead, the agency told lawmakers Friday it will put the proposal on hold while it studies ways to make consumption of raw oysters more safe, according to several lawmakers. Critics said the plan could have killed a $500 million industry and thousands of jobs.

The ban would have prohibited sales of raw oysters from the Gulf for much of the year unless the shellfish were treated to destroy bacteria that kills about 15 people per year.

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