Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
Washington, D.C.—“Last week, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) stopped over 40,000 pounds of siluriformes (catfish) products from being imported into the U.S. from Vietnam. The shipment tested positive for malachite green, a veterinary drug that is banned for use in food animals in the U.S. because it is potentially carcinogenic. This latest incident is one of several actions taken by FSIS inspection personnel in recent months to make our food supply safer.
“Since FSIS took over inspection of both domestic and imported siluriformes and catfish in April 2016, the agency has taken the following actions to protect consumers:
- In May 2016, over 39,000 pounds of siluriformes from Vietnam tested positive for Gentian Violet, an illegal veterinary drug and suspected carcinogen, and were rejected for entry into the U.S.;
- In May 2016, a shipper from the People’s Republic of China refused to let FSIS inspection officials conduct an enhanced inspection of his shipment of catfish and was prevented from offloading his cargo. The shipment was sent back to China;
- In June 2016, an importer was forced to recall imported siluriformes from Vietnam because they had by-passed FSIS inspection protocols. The importer was forced to expand that recall in July 2016 to cover a total of 28,000 pounds of product;
- In July 2016, a domestic catfish processor was forced to recall over 21,000 pounds of catfish products that tested positive for Gentian Violet.
“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. The FSIS catfish inspection program is working and needs to continue in operation because it is preventing food borne illness in the U.S.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Kate Fried, Food & Water Watch, (202) 683-4905, [email protected]