Alabama halts sale of imported fish

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Published: November 11,2009

Tags: agriculture, food safety, foreign trade

JACKSON — According to Catfish Farmers of America, the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries has halted the sale of imported Asian catfish and related fish contaminated by banned drugs.

The contaminated catfish products tested positive for antibiotic Fluoroquinolones banned for use in fish or other seafood products sold in the United States because of the health and safety danger to consumers.

Alabama’s findings come as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is weighing a decision on how to implement a law approved by Congress last year shifting responsibility for the inspection and regulation of imported and domestic catfish and related fish from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That law requires that catfish and catfish-like products meet the same stringent USDA health and safety standards as beef, poultry and pork.

“The contamination found in the Asian fish tested by Alabama authorities demonstrates the urgency of this health and safety issue,” said Joey Lowery, president of the Catfish Farmers of America. “We need Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to enact this law now in the most comprehensive manner possible. It will help ensure that all imported catfish and catfish relatives meet the toughest regulations and inspections that will protect American consumers and make certain that imported fish meet the same standards for quality and safety as our U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish.”

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