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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: USDA still not inspecting seafood  (อ่าน 1800 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: กรกฎาคม 30, 2010, 09:04:02 AM »


Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln says the release of the USDA’s Catfish Inspection Rule is long overdue. (Photo: lincoln.senate.gov)

USDA still not inspecting seafood

[imghttp://fis.com/fis/gif/flags/32/us.png][/img] UNITED STATES
Thursday, July 29, 2010, 22:00 (GMT + 9)



A new report has put imported seafood inspections under the spotlight and leaves questions on why the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) still has not begun inspections as instructed in the 2008 farm bill.

The USDA currently only inspects meat and poultry imported into the United States, leaving seafood to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), reports South East Farm Press.
 
The new study, by the Exponent Inc.’s Centre for Chemical Regulation and Food Safety, says that fish and seafood products have one of the highest rates of import refusals due to food safety issues. Reasons for this include the presence of harmful micro-organisms and unapproved drugs, according to the report.
 
It goes on to say that fish imported from China and Vietnam are produced in much less controlled environments than those raised in the United States, which gives more opportunities for microbiological and chemical contamination. Fish farmers in Vietnam use water directly from the Mekong River, and most do not screen  against contaminants.
 
“I’ve said loud and clear that the release of the (USDA’s) Catfish Inspection Rule is long overdue. Each day the USDA delays is another day we put Americans’ health at risk,” said Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln.
 
Lincoln believes that there is a large concern that implementing a new inspection regime could cause a trade conflict with Vietnam and China. However, he believes that importers should “adhere to the same standards we ask of our farmers.”
 
Joey Lowery, president of Catfish Farmers of America said that the import inspection tug-of-war “has been dragging on for more than two years, now. From our point of view, this is a health and safety issue.”
 
“Our first priority is the health and safety of the American consumer. We’re not just supporting this law because it imposes tougher standards on imported fish. It also requires those same, tough standards on U.S. farm-raised catfish. We’re not asking for imported catfish to be treated any differently.”
 
At present, the FDA only inspects 2 per cent of all imported seafood, including catfish products.
 
Tony Corbo, a lobbyist for Food and Water Watch, said that while the organisation wasn’t “an active participant in the (2008) farm bill discussions regarding the transfer of … inspections of imported catfish from the FDA to USDA, the more we studied the issue the more it made sense to us this is a consumer protection issue.”
 
The 2008 farm bill called for the new USDA inspection regulations to be in place by December 2009. Corbo pointed out that the regulations have been lying dormant since 13 November, 2009.
 
Representatives of various consumer organisations “have already met with representatives at OMB and U.S. Trade to move the process along. There should be an open and transparent debate. … The way to do that is to start the public comment period and hold the public meetings called for in the 2008 farm bill,” said Corbo.
 
Related article:
 
-Pangasius worries a food safety scare: NFI

 
By Michel Loubet
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com

 

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