Catfish Farmers: USDA Delay Harmful

In a case of something written into the 2008 farm bill thats yet to be enacted, U.S. catfish producers are pointing at the USDAs failure to inspect seafood imports.

Currently, the USDA takes on the inspection of meat and poultry imported into the United States. However, it does not inspect imported seafood, leaving that to the Food and Drug Administration.

The USDA is shirking its responsibility, say critics. Thats because, behind a strong push by U.S. aquaculture interests during the farm bill debate, Congress shifted regulation of catfish products from the FDA to the USDA.

To the chagrin of U.S. catfish producers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack despite claims that food safety is among his top priorities has failed to place all catfish products under USDA jurisdiction.

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