The U.S. Senate has voted to shut down the nation’s only catfish inspection program, a move that would put more Americans at risk of exposure to carcinogens and antibiotics from Asian white fish, such as Vietnamese pangasius, according to Food Safety News.
Senators approved the Joint Resolution by a vote of 55-43 on Wednesday. It now goes to the House of Representatives.
If it passes the House, it would still have to be signed by President Obama before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) catfish inspection program would be shut down. If that happens, catfish would likely revert back to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where only 1 to 2 percent of seafood imports are inspected because of budget constraints.
The program has been in effect for both domestic and foreign catfish species only since April 15, and it may be drawing fire from Capitol Hill because it is finding dangerous carcinogens and antibiotics in fish shipments from Asian nations.
Too much of that might not be good for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an Obama legacy agenda item. U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) did not address TPP when going for the catfish inspection kill on Wednesday but referenced what he called “classic farm bill politics.” Inspection of all foreign and domestic catfish species was mandated in the farm bill.
The joint resolution terminates catfish inspection through a technical action nullifying a rule published in December 2015 that set up the mandatory inspection program.
To read more, click here.