Public Interest Group and Congresswoman Cite Asian Seafood Safety “Problem”

In by Stuart Borders

As Congress continues debating the Pacific Rim free-trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, seafood safety experts say the free-trade agreement could reduce the safety of food imports. “Consumers deserve to know how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could affect the safety of the food they feed their families,” declared Patrick Woodall, Research Director and Senior Policy Advocate of the non-profit, non-partisan Food & Water Watch. The seafood safety organization commended U.S. House Members Rosa DeLauro, Louise Slaughter and Chellie Pingree for demanding public release of import safety provisions of TPP, the controversial Pacific Rim free-trade agreement that could override U.S. law.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro stated, “…the TPP will limit our ability to stem the tide of harmful products, particularly seafood from Vietnam and Malaysia.”

Citing seafood from Vietnam and Malaysia, Mr. Woodall said, “We know there is a problem with these imports.” Mr. Woodall went on to say that fish farmers in the TPP partner nations of Vietnam and Malaysia often use veterinary medicines and fungicides that are illegal in the United States to combat disease in overcrowded fish ponds and river cages.

Food and Water Watch said the Food and Drug Administration only inspects about 3 percent of Vietnamese and Malaysian seafood imports, but rejects 16 percent of the shipments it does examine. The FDA needs to strengthen its seafood import safety program and the government should release food safety provisions of the TPP, Mr. Woodall added.

Vietnam is the largest provider of catfish-like fish including pangasius (basa, tra and swai) to the United States.

Consumers and restaurants should choose 100 percent American-grown and processed U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish to ensure they are getting safe and wholesome catfish. To better protect consumers, America’s catfish farmers support all federal and state efforts to improve inspections of foreign imports and enhance country of origin labeling of catfish and catfish-like species.

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