Customers of Mississippi restaurants will now know whether the catfish on their late is domestically produced or is an imported variety of catfish-like pangasius, also sold as basa, tra and swai.
Mississippi producers persuaded legislators this month to amend the state’s catfish Country of Origin Labeling law to require restaurants to also identify the origin of froeigh produced catfish.
The measure, approved unanimously, gives “restaurant patrons the power to decide for themselves if they wish to eat the cheaper, but often tainted, imports,“ said Roger Barlow, president of the Jackson-based Catfish Institute.
Vietnam is the world’s largest producer of pangasius — an import Barlow says incurs huge inspection violation numbers despite the Food and Drug Administration‘s minimal testing.
“Although the FDA tests less than 1 percent of imported seafood, it consistently finds serious violations in pangasius imports,” Barlow said. “ Of the 17 pangasius shipments subject to FDA import refusal actions last year, six had residues of both the carcinogen nitrofuran and illegal and potentially harmful veterinarian drugs, which are banned in the United States. Salmonella was found in 10 shipments, and one shipment was refused for being ‘filthy.’”
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, newly elevated to ranking Republican member on the Agriculture Committee, sponsored the 2008 Farm Bill requirement on imported catfish inspections. He has been critical, however, of what he says has been the federal government failure to implement a more stringent inspection process for imported fish products.
In a press statement last week, he urged the Obama administration to initiate “an inspection program that will ensure the quality of fish imports, particularly for imports marketed as catfish.”
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info