Inspections were moved from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to a more rigorous program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Nixon writes. USDA inspections, which are now more "like those conducted at meat and poultry processing plants, are conducted daily and are more rigorous than the sporadic checks conducted by the Food and Drug Administration."
The U.S. catfish industry, mostly located in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, has dropped from 133,000 acres in 2008 to 69,910 this year, Nixon writes. Industry officials blame the drop on higher corn prices used to feed catfish and lower-priced imports "primarily from Vietnam, which often undercut catfish raised in the U.S by $2 a pound. Those imports now make up about 75 percent of the U.S. market."
"Domestic catfish farmers say foreign-raised catfish is produced under lax safety standards," Nixon writes. "But the Vietnamese Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, a trade group based in Ho Chi Minh City, said its catfish exports undergo rigorous testing and inspection." (Read more)