Catfish farmers and health-conscious consumers could feel the impact of a U.S. Senate vote in May to switch catfish inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) back to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Alabama Farmers Federation National Legislative Programs Director Mitt Walker said the move would reverse recent gains in keeping tainted, foreign fish from flooding the U.S. market.
“Since taking over inspections in April, the USDA already stopped two shipments of Vietnamese fish contaminated with banned chemicals from reaching American tables,” Walker said. “The last two years FDA was inspecting fish, only two shipments with known carcinogens were discovered.”
Walker said the Federation appreciates Alabama Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions for voting against transferring inspections back to FDA.
“The track record of past inspections shows those supporting the measure are clearly putting the interests of foreign exporters above the American people,” Walker said.
The measure, S.J. Res. 28, passed the Senate 55-43 and awaits consideration in the House of Representatives. The Catfish Farmers of America expressed disappointment with the Senate vote on such an important food safety issue.