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.