USDA will hold two public comment meetings on proposed mandatory catfish inspection rule

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is announcing that it will hold 2 public meeting to receive comments on the proposed regulation ti implement a program for mandatory inspection of catfish and catfish products.

The proposed rule provides for a transition period during which domestic and international operations would come into compliance with the catfish inspection program. Comments are requested regarding the transition phases and their duration. FSIS plans to announce in the final rule the implementation dates for each transition phase. Read more of this post


US catfish inspection regulation – a trade barrier

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Feb 18 announced a propose rule for catfish and catfish products inspection. USDA designed these regulation to implement the 11016 provision as required in the US Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm bill 2008)

The Bill addresses two key issues. First, it amends the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) to specify that catfish “is an amenable species,” thereby transferring the inspection and regulation of the fish from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Second, USDA will define which species is catfish for its inspection purposes. Read more of this post

Pangasius: Regulatory hurdles and name changes have so far not stopped this import’s rising popularity

What’s in a name? When it comes to pangasius, it seems, a lot. Its on-again, off-again and maybe now on-again, classification as catfish is at the center of an attempt by domestic catfish farmers to strictly regulate a strong imported competitor. Meanwhile, the multiple accepted names for the imported species sold in the U.S. market (Pangasius hypophthalmus), which include striped pangasius, sutchi, tra and swai, have hampered its ability to stand alone as a product recognized by the average U.S. consumer. Read more of this post

Catfish Confusion and Wasted Resources – Food Safety or Food Politics?

The 2008 Farm Bill sanctioned the movement of catfish regulation from FDA to USDA/FSIS. At the time this was enacted it raised the question of the rationale behind the decision and if such a change was in the best interest of public health. Observers of food regulation will recognize that a fundamental difference between USDA and FDA is that USDA operates on a continuous inspection basis requirement a regular, if not constant, presence of inspectors, whereas FDA does not. Read more of this post

US senators call on colleagues to repeal 2008 Farm Bill

Six United States senators signed in a letter dated March 15, calling upon colleague to cosponsor S.496, a bill to rescind a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill which, if improperly applied through regulation, would inhibit a Vietnamese fish import.

The signatories, including John McCain, John Kerry, Tom Coburn, Jeanne Shaheen, Mike Crapo, and Scott Brown, wrote in the letter that: “There is neither a safety reason to block the import nor any economic benefit for the country in doing so” because the “costly and duplicative federal regulations aimed at gaming our foreign trading system at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers.” Read more of this post

Vietnam applauds ITA’s pangasius ruling

Vietnamese pangasius exporters were please to learn on Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) decided not use the Philippines as the surrogate country when calculating antidumping duty rates for Vietnamese pangasius, following a public-comment period. Read more of this post

Catfish, Pangasius and Joke’s on American consumers

During last month’s State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama cited salmon as a shining example of government inefficiency: “The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in salt water. I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

Obama’s joke — perhaps the most memorable moment of his 62-minute speech — Read more of this post

Letter: Last chance to sway USDA catfish program

Editor’s note: The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Robert G. Hibbert, partner, and Karl M. Nobert, associate, both of the international law firm K&L Gates. The letter is in response to Tuesday’s commentary “Joke’s on American consumers.”

Despite its length, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s long-awaited and much-delayed proposal on catfish inspection can be fairly easily summarized. Read more of this post

US Legislation introduced to protect Vietnamese catfish imports

Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn have introduced legislation to repeal duplicative federal regulations regarding the inspection and grading of Vietnamese catfish. The bill would annul a provision in the 2008 Farm Bill seeking to ban Vietnamese catfish imports and those of other potential trade partners. Read more of this post

Congresswoman Roybal–Allard on US Department of Agriculture proposed rule on “catfish”

On Friday February 18, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a proposed rule that could lead to the imported Asian fish pangasius being subjected to a new inspection regime.

The Department seeks comment on the rule which resulted from a 2008 Farm Bill provision, inserted at the behest of the domestic catfish industry, which makes catfish the only seafood to be inspected by USDA; Read more of this post

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