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Not the same

MBJ Editorial

In our march toward economic globalization, we must remember that all catfish doesn’t taste the same. Not grown the same. Not inspected the same. In fact, it’s not the same.

When it comes to catfish, homegrown is the best. That’s why we applaud the efforts of Mississippi’s congressional delegation in it’s effort to protect the U.S. catfish industry. Mississippi, by the way, leads the nation in total catfish acreage, produces 72% of the catfish produced nationally and processes roughly 75% of those fish within the state.

And nothing compares to a plate full of Mississippi-grown catfish.

Bill HR 2439 would require that all catfish sold in the U.S. have a label stating the country of origin, which is designed to stop the rather misleading labeling of catfish imported from Vietnam.

“Catfish farmers have spent millions of dollars promoting the value and quality of American catfish in markets all around the world. That work is now being undermined by imports of Vietnamese catfish that mislead consumers into thinking it is the same as American, farm-raised catfish,” said Third District Congressman Chip Pickering. “Furthermore, Vietnamese fish are not raised under the same health and safety requirements that American farmers uphold.”

As Second District Congressman Bennie Thompson pointed out, “By guaranteeing freshness and meeting strict guidelines, U.S. farm-raised catfish ensures high health standards and a great product for our families. Vietnam cannot make this promise.”

Telling a consumer where a product was manufactured, produced or grown isn’t an obstruction to free trade. It’s just common sense. Consumers have a right to know, especially with food, where a product is coming from, and in the case of catfish, most consumers already know that we have the best.

“Country-of-origin labeling is pro-consumer,” said Fourth District Congressman Ronnie Shows. “American consumers can see where their product is coming from and can make a decision on which item they want to feed their families.”

The misleading labeling and marketing of imported catfish must stop, and we hope that the efforts of Shows, Pickering and Thompson are successful in doing just that.

Now, pass those hushpuppies.

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