FDA bars seafood importer


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
December 13, 2009

 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced it has barred a Virginia man convicted of seafood fraud from importing food into the United States for 20 years.

This is the first time the FDA has debarred a food importer.

Peter Xuong Lam, president of Virginia Star Seafood, was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to import catfish from Vietnam for fraudulent sales to avoid paying federal import tariffs.

The plot involved more than 10 million pounds of frozen catfish fillets falsely labeled as sole, grouper, flounder, snakehead, channa and other species.

In addition to his prison sentence, Lam was ordered to forfeit more than USD 12 million to reimburse the government for anti-dumping duties.

Under current law, the FDA may prohibit a person from importing an article of food or offering such an article for import into the United States if that person has been convicted of a felony for conduct relating to the importation into the United States of any food. The law also provides that the FDA may debar a person if that person has engaged in a pattern of importing or offering for import adulterated food that presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. The statute allots the agency up to five years to take such action.

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