IMPLEMENTATION LEVEL

National

AFFECTED FLOW

Inflow

ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARY

No

NON-TRADE-RELATED RATIONALE

No

ELIGIBLE FIRMS

all

JUMBO

No

TARIFF PEAK

No
← back to the state act
Inception date: 01 Mar 2016 | Removal date: open ended
Still in force

Sanitary and phytosanitary measure

On December 2, 2015 the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a final rule requiring continuous inspection of catfish and catfish products. According to FSIS, the regulations are intended to ensure that catfish products distributed in commerce are wholesome, not adulterated, and properly marked, labeled, and packaged. The move nevertheless came in response to demands from a domestic industry association that hoped to increase the regulatory burden imposed on its foreign competition. The new rues took effect March 1, 2016.
 
At issue is the implementation of a provision in the 2008 farm bill, more formally known as the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246). Section 11016 of that law provided for the transfer of catfish regulation and inspection duties from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to FSIS. Some believe that the FSIS, as an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, might be more sympathetic to the interests of the domestic industry than is the FDA. The law nevertheless left it up to the Secretary of Agriculture to decide how this transfer will be accomplished, including the question of whether the same standards are to be applied to imported catfish as are currently required of U.S. pond-raised catfish. Also at issue is the precise definition of which fish that will be made subject to these rules.
 
The industry association Catfish Farmers of America has pursued a campaign to require stricter inspection of imported catfish for three years. Their campaign has included the purchase of advertising in major publications such as the Washington Post, as well as public-policy journals that are not widely read outside of Washington (e.g., Politico and Roll Call). Full details on the group's campaign are posted at http://www.uscatfish.com/catfish-farmers-of-america-news.html. The group's efforts are supported by the Consumer Federation of America, Food and Water Watch, and Safe Tables Our Priority.
 
The Catfish Farmers of America based their campaign on the claim that catfish imported from countries such as Vietnam are unsafe for consumers. 'Among the two percent of seafood imports from Vietnam inspected by the FDA during a recent four-year period,' according to one of the group's fact sheets, 'nearly one in every five seafood shipments, including catfish, was contaminated with potentially deadly chemicals or drugs that are banned by the United States infarm-raised catfish, according to the FDA.' One press account noted the irony that 'the Catfish Farmers of America uses reports of rejected catfish imports as evidence that FDA is failing to do its job.'
 
This same industry previously tried to restrict imports of catfish from Vietnam through other measures. It managed in 2001 to win enactment of a law prohibiting the product imported from Vietnam from being labeled for sale as 'catfish,'* and in 2003 to have anti-dumping duties imposed on this product (which were continued in a notice published on July 10, 2009).
 
 
 
 
 
* : Section 755 of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-76) provided that 'None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to the Food and Drug Administration shall be used to allow admission of fish or fish products labeled wholly or in part as 'catfish' unless the products are taxonomically from the family Ictaluridae.'

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AFFECTED COUNTRIES

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TABLE
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AFFECTED SECTORS AND PRODUCTS

212 Prepared & preserved fish, crustaceans, molluscs
0304 Fish fillets and other fish meat (whether or not minced), fresh, chilled or frozen.
030431 Tilapias (Oreochromis spp.)
030432 Catfish (Pangasius spp., Silurus spp., Clarias spp., Ictalurus spp.)
030433 Nile Perch (Lates niloticus)
030441 Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, Oncorhynchus keta, Oncorhynchus tschawytscha, Oncorhynchus kisutch, Oncorhynchus masou and Oncorhynchus rhodurus), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Danube salmon (Huchohucho)
030442 Trout (Salmo trutta, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Oncorhynchus clarki, Oncorhynchus aguabonita, Oncorhynchus gilae, Oncorhynchus apache and Oncorhynchus chrysogaster)
030443 Flat fish (Pleuronectidae, Bothidae, Cynoglossidae, Soleidae, Scophthalmidae and Citharidae)
030444 Fish of the families Bregmacerotidae, Euclichthyidae, Gadidae, Macrouridae, Melanonidae, Merlucciidae, Moridae and Muraenolepididae
030449 Other
030451 Tilapias (Oreochromis spp.), catfish (Pangasius spp., Silurus spp., Clarias spp., Ictalurus spp.), carp (Cyprinus carpio, Carassius carassius, Ctenopharyngodon idellus, Hypophthalmichthys spp., Cirrhinus spp., Mylopharyngodon piceus), eels (Anguilla sp
030452 Salmonidae
030453 Fish of the families Bregmacerotidae, Euclichthyidae, Gadidae, Macrouridae, Melanonidae, Merlucciidae, Moridae and Muraenolepididae
030459 Other
030461 Tilapias (Oreochromis spp.)
030462 Catfish (Pangasius spp., Silurus spp., Clarias spp., Ictalurus spp.)
030469 Other
030471 Cod (Gadus morhua, Gadus ogac, Gadus macrocephalus)
030472 Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)
030473 Coalfish (Pollachius virens)
030474 Hake (Merluccius spp., Urophycis spp.)
030475 Alaska Pollack (Theragra chalcogramma)
030479 Other
030481 Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, Oncorhynchus keta, Oncorhynchus tschawytscha, Oncorhynchus kisutch, Oncorhynchus masou and Oncorhynchus rhodurus), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Danube salmon (Huchohucho)
030482 Trout (Salmo trutta, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Oncorhynchus clarki, Oncorhynchus aguabonita, Oncorhynchus gilae, Oncorhynchus apache and Oncorhynchus chrysogaster)
030483 Flat fish (Pleuronectidae, Bothidae, Cynoglossidae, Soleidae, Scophthalmidae and Citharidae)
030484 Swordfish (Xiphias gladius)
030485 Toothfish (Dissostichus spp.)
030487 Tunas (of the genus Thunnus), skipjack or stripebellied bonito (Euthynnus (Katsuwonus) pelamis)
030489 Other
030492 Toothfish (Dissostichus spp.)
030494 Alaska Pollack (Theragra chalcogramma)
030499 Other
0305 Fish, dried, salted or in brine; smoked fish, whether or not cooked before or during the smoking process; flours, meals and pellets of fish, fit for human consumption.
030510 Flours, meals and pellets of fish, fit for human consumption
030520 Livers and roes of fish, dried, smoked, salted or in brine
030531 Tilapias (Oreochromis spp.), catfish (Pangasius spp., Silurus spp., Clarias spp., Ictalurus spp.), carp (Cyprinus carpio, Carassius carassius, Ctenopharyngodon idellus, Hypophthalmichthys spp., Cirrhinus spp., Mylopharyngodon piceus), eels (Anguilla sp
030532 Fish of the families Bregmacerotidae, Euclichthyidae, Gadidae, Macrouridae, Melanonidae, Merlucciidae, Moridae and Muraenolepididae
030539 Other
030541 Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka, Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, Oncorhynchus keta, Oncorhynchus tschawytscha, Oncorhynchus kisutch, Oncorhynchus masou and Oncorhynchus rhodurus), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Danube salmon (Hucho hucho)
030542 Herrings (Clupea harengus, Clupea pallasii)
030549 Other
030551 Cod (Gadus morhua, Gadus ogac, Gadus macrocephalus)
030559 Other
030562 Cod (Gadus morhua, Gadus ogac, Gadus macrocephalus)
030563 Anchovies (Engraulis spp.)
030569 Other
1604 Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs.
160411 Salmon
160412 Herrings
160413 Sardines, sardinella and brisling or sprats
160414 Tunas, skipjack and bonito (Sarda spp.)
160415 Mackerel
160416 Anchovies
160419 Other
160420 Other prepared or preserved fish
160431 Caviar
160432 Caviar substitutes

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