More Chinese catfish withdrawn

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
9 May 2007, at 1:00am

US - Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Lester Spell has pulled Chinese catfish from seven more grocery stores after samples tested positive for federally banned antibiotics.

Spell last week ordered four stores to stop selling the fish.

Meanwhile, state health officials are waiting on testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before taking action.

Spell ordered the sale of Chinese catfish to stop after an additional seven catfish tested positive for the antibiotics. So far, 11 of 16 samples taken across Mississippi have tested positive.

The samples contained traces of two types of antibiotics, ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin. The chemicals can cause serious side effects, including nerve, muscle and heart problems, as well as allergic reactions, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"In Mississippi, we have a no-tolerance policy," said Spell's spokesman, Andy Prosser.

Stores told Tuesday to stop selling Chinese catfish include Mac's Meat Market in Starkville, D&T Supermarket in Clarksdale, Save-A-Lot stores in Gulfport and Clarksdale, Sunflower Food Store in Poplarville, Southern Family Market in Meridian, and Walden's Big Star in Booneville.

Not all Chinese catfish at the stores tested positive for antibiotics.

At D&T Supermarket in Clarksdale, one brand of Chinese catfish failed testing, while another label passed. "I don't want our customers to panic," store manager Josephine Hung said. "We sell a lot of catfish."

The brand that failed the test, Silver Source, was pulled from shelves, she said.

Contaminated catfish was removed last week from Save-A-Lot stores in Pontotoc and Houston, Sunflower Food Store in Quitman, and Aultman's SuperValu in Forest.

Last week, state health officials sent catfish samples from distributors to an FDA-approved lab in Atlanta, said Liz Sharlot, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health. Results are pending.

"The FDA has not issued any bans or recalls," Sharlot said.