Noxubee County in Mississippi’s Black Prairie is pretty much the center of America’s $400 million domestic catfish industry.  Noxubee County Producers Inc. located in Macon, MS is a top catfish processor.

In an April 29 warning letter to the catfish processing company, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cited the Mississippi seafood business for “serious violations’ of federal regulations, including the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations.

FDA said the failure to have and implement seafood HACCP plan “renders the fish or fishery products (to be) adulterated.”

In the warning letter, FDA said Noxubee County Producers does not do an adequate job of controlling aquaculture chemicals and drug residues in the catfish the company processes.   The catfish processor is not doing enough to contain unsafe levels of chemical contaminants and /or drug residues.  FDA urges Noxubee to:

Visit all new aqua cultured fish suppliers within the year and all existing fish suppliers at a predetermined frequency to review the growers’ drug usage procedures.

Collect a representative sample of the raw material, in-process product, or finished products at least quarterly and analyze it for drug residues.

Review monitoring, corrective actions, and verification records within one week of preparations.

FDA suggests the company not just reject fish where chemicals and drug residue are problem, but to cease using the supplier until they can show they are complying with source control policies.

In addition FDA questions the ingredient label for a product called “Catfish with Lemmon Pepper Marinade” and calls upon the company to keep better records.

About 80,000 of 111,000 acres of ground dedicated to ponds for raising catfish are located in Mississippi.  Alabama, Arkansas, and Texas.

Meanwhile the Minneapolis-based Olsen Fish Company also received a warning letter sent out on April 29 about its serious violations of the seafood HACCP.

In addition to listing much detail on how to create a seafood HACCP plan, FDA told Olsen Fish Company it is concerned about sanitation conditions and practices at the facility.

The agency wrote,  “…you did not monitor safety of water that comes into contact with food or food contact surfaces, including water used to manufacture ice, condition and cleanliness of food contact surfaces, prevention of cross-contamination from insanitary objects, maintenance of hand washing, hand sanitizing, and toilet facilities, protection of food, food packaging material, and food contact surfaces from adulteration, proper labeling, storage and use of manufacturing practice requirements…”

FDA specifically addressed Olsen’s Herring in Wine Sauce and Creamed Style Pickled Herring.

The seafood processors were asked to respond to FDA concerns with corrective actions in writing within 15 days.