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Alabama Bans Asian Catfish for Contamination

US - A stop sale order on imported catfish and basa product from Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, China and Vietnam has been re-imposed by the State of Alabama.

Commissioner Ron Sparks of the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries announced the state-imposed ban at a press conference in Montgomery earlier this week reports Food Safety News.

The announcement was certain to delight domestic catfish farmers who have punched buttons at both the state and federal levels to limit foreign fish imports to the United States.

Mr Sparks said the Asian fish products tested positive for fluoroquinolones. Quinolones and fluoroquinolones are chemotherapeutic bactericidal drugs, used for eradicating bacteria by interfering with DNA replication.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow the use of fluoroquinolones in fish or seafood.

Alabama tested 40 samples of basa type products and catfish from the five countries; 18 samples came back positive for fluoroquinolones.

Mr Sparks has issued nine suspensions from sale or movement orders for 486 cases of product (8,840 lbs). This product has been either voluntarily destroyed or returned to the importer of record after the Department has notified the FDA.

The Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries detection reporting limit for fluoroquinolones is 1 part per billion (ppb) or greater.

Seventeen samples were in the 1-5ppb range and one sample tested greater than 50ppb. Product samples continue to be collected and tested and enforcement action will be implemented as necessary.

With the action, Alabama continues "Automatic Stop Sale Order" criteria established in April 2007. "This series of tests that we have just completed indicates the importance of the continuation of the Stop Sale Order," Mr Sparks said.

the Fish Site Editor

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