Catfish Farmer’s Caustic Crusade

By

Gavin Gibbons

Published on
October 20, 2010

It was two weeks ago that I blogged in defense of domestic catfish producers. I noted that a pointed allegation, published in Seafood Source, designed to smear the industry should have been attributed and took the import vs. domestic debate back into untenable territory.  While it was far from Rodney King’s iconic request; “can’t we all just get along?” It was an attempt to take a stand against destructive tactics.  Now, the domestic catfish industry has taken its caustic crusade against pangasius to a new level, employing destructive tactics that target far more than just pangasius.

This week a TV ad sponsored by the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) will begin running on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.  The opening salvo of the commercial asks, “Did you know that only 2% of imported seafood is inspected?” and ends by asking the President to help “fix this problem” and “make our family’s health and safety your number one concern.”

Domestic catfish farmers have chosen to make enemies of 83% of the seafood community by purposely and publicly distorting the fact that the highly-effective, integrated system set up by FDA to regulate imported seafood is designed to prevent food safety problems well before the product gets here, rather than simply relying on inspections.  It’s a system that’s so effective bipartisan food safety legislation seeks to expand it to other food groups. But you won’t hear that from them.

CFA has chosen to align itself with bottom-feeding, special interest lobbyists, like its strategic consulting firm that boasts about how its team diverted focus to government standards, rather than their client, Jack in the Box, after four young children died and hundreds became sick from eating at the restaurant chain.  Sounds like quite a commitment to food safety.

Furthermore, I find it odd that I read so often, like in today’s USA Today,  that the “American catfish industry has hit hard times of late” and that the cost of raising catfish is “sinking” the industry.

Really?

So, CFA members can’t make ends meet but they can scrape together hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and air TV spots that bash imports?

CFA’s faux food safety scare is the crown jewel in a manipulative operation filled with destructive tactics that will cause collateral damage to many parts of the seafood community.

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