Food Associations Say Inspection Plan Unnecessary

Three leading U.S. food trade associations on Thursday said an inspection plan for imported seafood would add costly bureaucracy and do little to enhance the safety of the nation's seafood supply.

In a letter to the House and Senate agriculture committees, the National Fisheries Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association said language added to the Farm Bill that would include seafood in the list of products covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Federal Meat Inspection Act, "poses a serious threat to the food industry's ability to provide safe, fresh and wholesome seafood to American consumers."

The Farm Bill provision was originally intended to allow the USDA to inspect all catfish products as a measure to protect consumers from tainted products, but was later expanded to cover all seafood.

"We're concerned that USDA lacks the expertise and framework needed for proper seafood inspection," said NFI President John Connelly in a press release.

"The Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both have the knowledge and infrastructure already in place to continue doing the job. Increasing the funding for their seafood-safety programs would be a better use of taxpayers' money."

The letter states, "It would be terribly imprudent at this point to move any amount of seafood inspection authority to the USDA's Meat Inspection Act program. Such a dramatic shift in process and policy will be costly, unnecessary and duplicative."

The letter added, "now is not the time to create new federal food-safety bureaucracy for seafood."


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500