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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Still no pangasius inspections  (อ่าน 2173 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: พฤษภาคม 25, 2010, 09:01:47 AM »


Critics have slammed the fact that the USDA has yet to step up its inspections of foreign catfish. (Photo: MLJ/FIS)

Still no pangasius inspections

UNITED STATES
Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 02:20 (GMT + 9)



It has been almost two years since Congress requested that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) expand its inspections of meat and poultry products to pangasius but inspections remain stuck in red tape.

Pangasius imports to the US continue to undergo little analysis even though inspections were supposed to begin within six months of the 2008 farm bill’s passage. That year, just 2 per cent of over 5 billion lb of imported seafood was inspected by the USDA.

The reason is that, out of fear of upsetting Asian trading partners, the US Trade Representative office has delayed issuing a rule on the inspections.

“Food safety equivalency standards must be implemented by USDA if the US consumer is to expect the same level of quality control in catfish that consumers currently enjoy with beef, poultry and pork,” said the Mississippi-based Delta Council recently, Delta Farm Press reports.

Delta Council Aquaculture Committee Chairman Lester Myers said the Barack Obama administration has been “dragging its feet.”

“The bottom line is that the Congress passed a law, the (Obama) administration is flatly refusing to implement the law due to pressure by the Washington lobby for foreign countries, and the food safety issues associated with these imported fish are being swept under the rug,” he said.

President of Catfish Farmers of America Joey Lowery agreed.

“Things have been very hush-hush since it went into the inter-agency process. The rule will come out and when it does we’ll have to make sure the proper thing has been done,” he said.

“But when the ruling does come down it’s not over — the process will shift to a comment period. This is a food safety issue and, the way I see it, everyone is losing,” Lowery added.

He said sales as of mid-May have been decent with plants having good sales and favourable weather. However, feed costs remain lofty.

“Producers have their hands full because of that and potentially higher fuel costs,” said Lowery. “To survive, producers will have to be really good managers -- nothing will be easy.”

He explained that although prices for catfish are good, input costs have risen too. Producers are still not getting enough to maintain operations, such that they either need more money for the fish or input costs must come down.

Lowery added that aquaculture might benefit from the oil spill’s effect on wild seafood in the Gulf of Mexico: Related articles:

- Review of rules extended for imported pangasius
- Senators fear backlash over controversial catfish proposal


By Natalia Real
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com


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