Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Food & Water Watch urges continuation of catfish inspections

An activist group says the rejection of 40,000 pounds of catfish from Vietnam is the best evidence possible that Congress should not kill the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new inspection program.

“The (USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service) catfish inspection program is working and needs to continue in operation because it is preventing foodborne illness in the U.S.” Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said Tuesday in a news release.

Workers kill pangasius catfish before transfering them to the next processing line in a seafood factory in the Mekong delta of Vietnam. (© Jamesbox | Dreamstime.com)

Workers kill pangasius catfish before transfering them to the next processing line in a seafood factory in the Mekong delta of Vietnam. (Photo by Jamesbox|Dreamstime.com)

Although the FSIS had not posted information about the catfish interception as of 11 p.m. EDT Tuesday, the Washington D.C. activist group reported the government agency rejected the Vietnamese catfish because it tested positive for residues of banned chemicals.

Specifically, the fish had traces of malachite green, a veterinary drug used to treat sick fish, according to a news release from Food & Water Watch.

The inspection of catfish became part of USDA’s jurisdiction on April 15. Before that, the Food and Drug Administration handled catfish. In May FSIS blocked shipments from Vietnam and China. In June an importer recalled Vietnamese catfish products because the products had not gone through the inspection process.

“The fact that FSIS inspection personnel have been able to intercept unsafe siluriformes and catfish products both from foreign and domestic sources in such a short timeframe shows what an effective inspection program can do to protect consumers,” said Hauter.

“Many lawmakers opposed the switch from FDA to USDA, calling it unnecessary and duplicative. The Senate voted on May 25 to reverse the provision in the 2014 bill that created USDA’s catfish inspection program, but the House has not yet taken up the bill.”

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

© Food Safety News