Catfish Farmers Urge Congress to Keep Catfish Safe

Jamie Johansen

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 9.38.38 AMThe Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) recently met with members of the congressional delegation to encourage Congress to oppose SJ 28, should the bill come to a vote.

Since catfish inspection began at USDA in March, Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) inspectors detained two shipments from Vietnam that contained adulterated products. This is already more successful than FDA inspections had been in the past two years.

“American consumers deserve quality inspection of the products they purchase,” said Bari Cain, President of CFA. “Our lawmakers have an obligation to maintain the safety of our nation’s food source. USDA inspection prevents consumers from being exposed to products that originate from countries who do not abide by the same strict safety standards as we do. By FDA’s own admission, they inspect less than 2% of catfish coming into the United States.

Catfish farmers also explained that the process is neither duplicative nor costly, clarifying that false reports in recent circulation highlight an outdated program cost of $14 million annually. This report does not reflect USDA’s most recent estimate (next to last page) in the December 2015 final regulation at a cost of $2.5 million annually, or a net increase of $1.44 million annually. Additionally, both agencies signed an MOU as a result of the 2014 farm bill to ensure no duplicative efforts would result between the groups.

The American Farm Bureau Federation as well as other notable groups have issued letters to Congress taking the same position. The Committee on Agriculture distributed a statement encouraging legislators to oppose the abuse of the Congressional Review Act.