Tainted Imported Fish

Senator’s Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte said a U.S. Department of Agriculture program inspecting imported fish wastes millions of taxpayer dollars, hurts small business and “exposes our economy to a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization.” Really?

And their colleagues agree with the U.S. Senate passing a resolution 55-43 condemning the new federal catfish inspection program. If the House and President Obama agree, the program could be voided and moved back to the FDA….BAD IDEA and here is why.

IMPORTED TAINTED FISH

Three leading British retailers have withdrawn Vietnamese catfish imported by a local company after some of the fish was found to have some illegal substances generally used to increase their weight, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporter and Processors (VASEP).

Brazil has halted pangasius imports from Vietnam due to sanitary concerns (such as bacterial contaminants and pesticides) and worries about diseased fish, according to Merco Press, a South Atlantic news service.  The quality of Vietnamese pangasius – also sold as basa, tra and swai – had often been questioned in Brazil, but due to its low price, the fish had displaced other South American-sourced seafood.

While some of these articles are dated, it shows a complete lack of regard for food safety in foreign countries. Food safety is paramount for Americans and U.S. producers are heavily regulated. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will allow overseas products to be imported into the U.S. with less food safety scrutiny. American farmers and fishermen work hard (even without extensive regulation) to ensure our food is safe.

In the past, the Food and Drug Administration was charged with Food Fish Inspection. In the 2008 due to lack of performance the Farm Bill passed this duty onto the USDA. This was reaffirmed in the 2014 update to the Farm Bill. Now, with the TPP gaining momentum (while many Americans question how it is good for America) many members of the Senate are trying their best to clear the way by taking this “effective” food safety inspection away from the USDA and give it back to the FDA.

If you want safe seafood and farm raised catfish, then you must contact your Senator today and encourage them to vote NO on TPP. Keep America Food Safe.

Danny Kushmer

 

 

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