America’s Catfish Farmers Harmed by Unfair Dumping of Vietnamese Fish, U.S. Finds

September 25, 2013 –The U.S. Department of Commerce has determined that fish producers in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have been unfairly selling the catfish-like species pangasius (basa, tra and swai) in the United States at prices below true market value. This “dumping” of fish, often sold in restaurants as catfish, has seriously harmed the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Industry. Americans eat more than 70 percent of catfish they consume in restaurants. The decision to levy a fair anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese pangasius will give some relief to America’s catfish farmers who have been harmed by years of unfairly priced and low quality foreign imports. Such imports are often tainted with drugs and chemicals banned for use in food within the United States. Alarmingly, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found there is a lack of federal inspections of imported seafood products. ”This decision is a step in the right direction, but the Commerce Department must continue to enforce our trade laws in future decisions,” said Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran, the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. “Now it’s time for the administration to take responsible actions on an inspection program that will ensure the quality of fish imports, particularly for imports marketed as catfish.”

U.S. Catfish Industry Reminds Consumers Its Products Are Growth Hormone Free, Says Imported Catfish Is A Concern

August 16, 2013 — Following news that leading American food producers and processors will no longer purchase meat treated with controversial hormones, the nation’s largest aquaculture industry, U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, reminded American consumers that its products have always been free of growth hormones. ”U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish producers have never used growth hormones or any of the harmful and illegal drugs and antibiotics frequently used in foreign imported products,” said Ben Pentecost, Mississippi catfish farmer and President of Catfish Farmers of America (CFA). “The purity of our catfish and the safety of consumers have always been our primary concerns.” CFA said consumers should be alerted to the dangers of imported catfish and catfish-like species, citing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to find banned and potentially dangerous drugs and biotoxins in imported products. ”Due to the FDA’s weak inspection program, 98 percent of imported seafood is being sold directly to American families with no inspection, and less than one percent is actually being tested for contaminants,” said Pentecost. “U.S. catfish farmers will continue to provide a healthy, safe and nutritious food product, and we encourage American consumers to look for the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish label when dining out or purchasing groceries.”

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U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish are the Safe, Green Choice, Environment Group Says

edf_logo June 26, 2013 – U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is the best choice compared to imported basa or tra, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reports. U.S. Catfish are a “healthy, well managed” fish raised on environmentally friendly farms. By comparison, production methods of the catfish-like basa and tra, imported from Asia, “have improvements to make,” EDF finds.  Specifically, the group says:  ”Basa and Tra are being imported in increasing quantities from Vietnam, Thailand and China, where there is little government regulation of farming operations.” For more information about U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish, visit UScatfish.com

Europe Worries about Pangasius Safety and Labeling Fraud

May 16, 2013 – Ireland’s Food Safety Authority found that one-third or more of “cod” sold in Dublin is actually cheaper, mislabeled species including Vietnamese-farmed pangasius (basa, tra and swai) and Chinese-raised tilapia, the Irish Independent reported.  Citing studies by non-profit food safety groups, the Independent reported European-wide concerns over labeling fraud and the safety of Chinese and Vietnamese-farmed fish. The European Union is seeking higher food safety standards in Asia amid concerns over unhealthy pangasius cheap cialis farming conditions.  The World Wildlife Fund has found: “Farms are sometimes constructed and/or operated outside the legal framework for addressing environmental, social and food safety issues.” The EU is also funding a “Labelfish” project to DNA test species sold to consumers. In the United States, the problem of mislabeled fish sold to American consumers has been the subject of many investigative news reports in recent years.  Although such fraud continues to gain attention, the problem persists with little or no government action.  As much as 50 percent of seafood offered on U.S. restaurant menus is not the species listed, according to the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and, most recently, Fox News.

USDA’s Planned $10 Million Catfish Purchase Earns Praise From Catfish Farmers of America


usda logoMay 10, 2013
– Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) today offered praise for the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service, which announced plans Wednesday to purchase up to $10 million in frozen U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including charitable institutions. ”We are proud the USDA is choosing U.S. Farmed-Raised Catfish to provide nutritious and safe meals to Americans in need,” said Ben Pentecost, CFA President. “The USDA’s purchase will provide a tremendous economic benefit to the U.S. catfish industry while encouraging domestic consumption. We look forward to working with the USDA as they begin the purchasing process.”  The USDA’s Section 32 program allows the federal agency to purchase and donate meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables and fish to domestic nutrition programs for low-income Americans.

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