USDA rejects more Vietnamese catfish

By Bill Tomson

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 9, 2016 - USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has rejected another shipment of Vietnamese catfish because it tested positive for residues of banned chemicals, according to Food & Water Watch.

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FSIS officials tested a 40,000-pound shipment of catfish and discovered traces of malachite green, a veterinary drug used to treat sick fish, FWW said in a statement. 

FSIS officials were not available for immediate comment.

This is not the first time catfish imports from Asia were rejected since FSIS took over inspection of foreign catfish shipments from the FDA on April 15. FSIS blocked shipments from Vietnam and China in May and one importer conducted a recall of Vietnamese catfish products in June because the products had not gone through the inspection process.

“The fact that FSIS inspection personnel have been able to intercept unsafe siluriformes and catfish products both from foreign and domestic sources in such a short timeframe shows what an effective inspection program can do to protect consumers,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “The FSIS catfish inspection program is working and needs to continue in operation because it is preventing foodborne illness in the U.S.”

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Many lawmakers opposed the switch from FDA to USDA, calling it unnecessary and duplicative. The Senate voted on May 25 to reverse the provision in the 2014 bill that created USDA's catfish inspection program, but the House has not yet taken up the bill.

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