No Action Taken Yet On Catfish

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
16 November 2010, at 12:00am

US - This past Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of theUnited States Department of Agricultures (USDA) submission of aproposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget to establish amandatory inspection programME for domestic and imported catfish.

Food and Water Watch says that the new inspection programme – to be administered by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)– was required by the 2008 Farm Bill and final regulations for the programme were supposed to be in place by December 2009.

“But after a year spent with the proposal sitting at the OMB, the Obama administration has yet to release the proposed regulations for public comment.

“The Obama administration has stated that it is interested in enhancing food safety for American consumers. So we cannot understand why it has not taken action on a food safety programme established by Congress.

“Currently, the Food and Drug Administration regulates catfish. Domestic catfish processors receive FDA inspections once every five to ten years and only two per cent of imported catfish gets inspected.

The new inspection programme would subject domestic catfish processors to daily USDA inspection and imported catfish – much of which is raised in insanitary conditions and is treated with antibiotics and other chemicals that have been deemed to be illegal in the US – would receive more rigorous inspection by the USDA.

“It seems clear that the Obama Administration is being pressured by importers and countries that export catfish not to implement the new regulations because they would not be able to meet stronger USDA standards. The President should make up his mind. Is he more interested in protecting US consumers or promoting trade? We believe that the choice is clear. The Obama Administration should stop dragging its feet and publish the proposed catfish inspection regulations immediately so that US consumers are protected.”