Commentary: FDA going wrong way on seafood safety

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

What’s the scariest food in your kitchen?


Or so said the results of an Ipsos/McClatchy poll last month in which folks were asked what food they’re most concerned about when it comes to safety. Nearly 1 in 4 of those polled online, or 24 percent, listed fish and seafood.

In that same poll, 79 percent of respondents said imported consumables were the main cause of worry rather than domestically produced food.

Those percentages would undoubtedly change if Americans knew the truth — that the federal government is doing little to belie their concerns.

In fact, recent actions on the part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Food and Drug Administration are going in the wrong direction when it comes to ensuring that fish consumers know not only where that catfish came from but that it’s safe to put in their mouths.

Restrictions on Chinese food imports — think inspections and testing — are viewed as barriers to trade. In a September meeting in California with Chinese counterparts, Commerce Department representatives agreed that such restrictions may need lifting.

And the FDA is reportedly considering doing away with "import alerts" placed on five Chinese seafood imports, including catfish and shrimp, even as headlines continue to announce contamination problems.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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