WASHINGTON -- A seven-year fight to improve food-safety inspections of imported catfish ended March 1, said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.
On Tuesday, the 90-day period ended between the issuance of the catfish-inspection rule and formally transferring inspection responsibilities from the Food and Drug Administration to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. FSIS now will begin deploying inspectors to domestic and foreign farm-raised catfish operations to ensure the safety of their products.
"I am confident that the Department of Agriculture inspection program will work to ensure that safe and nutritious catfish is being sold in this country, whether it is produced and processed here or abroad," said Cochran, who worked to authorize the inspection program.
The FSIS inspects all imported farm-raised protein sources like poultry, pork, beef and now catfish. The inspection process extends to overseas points of origin to prevent the importation of products containing substances banned for use by the United States. The FDA inspection process, by comparison, examined less than 2 percent of imported fish with limited testing for drugs and chemicals banned for use in the U.S.