Catfish inspection where does it belong: USDA or FDA?

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

June 12, 2016

1 Min Read
Catfish inspection where does it belong: USDA or FDA?

There has been an ongoing battle over the past few years on which federal agency should be in charge of catfish inspection.  The battle is heating up again.  The 2014 Farm Bill moved the catfish inspection program (domestic and foreign) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).  However, the Senate recently voted to reject provisions of the Farm Bill and send the inspection program back to FDA. 

The arguments in favor of moving the program back to FDA by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John McCain (R-AZ), and others was the program costs taxpayers millions, saddles American businesses with heavy, duplicative regulation, and exposes our economy to a lawsuit at the World Trade Organization.  Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and others who favor keeping the inspection system at USDA cited FSIS would provide consumers greater food safety protection.  They cited that FSIS confirmed through laboratory testing that two shipments of catfish products had been rejected by FSIS and thus provided greater food safety protection for consumers.  The issue now moves to the House of Representatives. 

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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