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China hopes to consult with the U.S. over the issue of catfish bans in Southern states

CHINA - China hopes to consult with the U.S. over the issue of catfish export in the wake of detection of residual chemicals.

The Chinese national seafood quality inspection authorities announced on May 24 that it communicated with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the issue of suspension of sale of Chinese catfish products in the United States on the grounds that residual fluoroquinolone was detected from the products imported from China.

The Chinese authorities said that they asked the FDA for concrete explanations on the situation, but said they have not yet received any accurate information from the U.S.

Recently, sale of Chinese catfish was prohibited in Alabama as fluoroquinolone was found in the catfish imported from China.

Also, the Mississippi state government prohibited five retailers from marketing Chinese catfish for the same reason.

According to Chinese officials, the use of fluoroquinolone, a quinolone chemical, is not banned in such countries as the mainland China, European Union, Japan and Hong Kong.

Under the U.S. laws, it is provided that the standard residual amount of the chemical should be 5 ppb or less, but Alabama and Mississippi--major producing places of catfish in the U.S.-- stipulate that the standard level should be zero.

Earlier, the FDA sampled 45 items of Chinese catfish from October 2006 to the present, and announced no products were found to be containing the amount in excess of the U.S. federal standards of 5 ppb.

In their contact with the FDA, the Chinese authorities requested the U.S. to report the concrete situation leading to the prohibition of sale as soon as possible and also to provide scientific grounds for the two states to establish zero standards.