Origin of Seafood During the Kepone Scandal
In 1975, a chemical plant in Hopewell, Virginia, was found to be dumping massive quantities of kepone, a toxic, nonbiodegradable pesticide, into the James River. In the aftermath, analysis found traces of kepone throughout the James and in its sediment. In December 1975, commercial and sport fishing were banned and a warning was issued to anyone who privately caught fish in the James River or any of its tributaries. Any fish with more than 0.1 parts per million kepone was considered dangerous to human health. The fishing industry had disintegrated by the time the commercial fishing bans started to lift in May 1980. This 1976 photograph captures the beginning of place-of-origin labeling for seafood, as Americans generally refused to buy seafood from Virginia.