WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is fighting to keep harmful contaminants out of the food supply by supporting food safety inspections by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on foreign and domestic catfish.
“Catfish farming is an important industry to Arkansas. Arkansas producers are proud to supply a safe product for American consumers. The bottom line is that our farmers aren't afraid of competition. They just want the security to know that the domestic industry and imports are safe,” Boozman said on the Senate floor in support of the USDA Catfish Inspection Program.
Due to public health concerns, Congress included provisions in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills that transfer catfish inspection authority to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects less than two percent of imported catfish and relies solely on point-of-entry inspection. USDA works with the importing country to ensure that its regulatory system is equivalent to that of the U.S. and that products entering our country are safe and healthy.
“With only a few weeks of inspection under it’s belt, the USDA has already denied entry of two shipments of imported catfish because they found Crystal Violet in one shipment and Malachite Green in another, both are dangerous carcinogens. Earlier today, the American Cancer Society said that they support keeping farm raised fish inspection at USDA,” Boozman said in his speech.
Boozman said the threats to unravel the strict inspection standards would set a bad precedent and disrupt trade. The Senate is debating to overturn the rule that allows USDA to inspect imported catfish.