Debate Rages on Whether USDA or FDA Should Regulate Catfish

Posted on

The regulation of a certain type of domestic product was set to be moved from one organization to another, but not everyone is happy with that decision.

In 2008, the Farm Bill that was passed included a special stipulation for the regulation of domestic catfish.  In order to ensure that such seafood products could be put on equal footing as those products that are imported from abroad, regulation of this type of catfish was shifted from the Food and Drug Administration to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Four years later, though, and an inspection process has reportedly yet to be put in place by the USDA, despite pressure from senators.  Lawmakers from various states are worried that the investment into domestic catfish is not going to pay off unless the new inspection standards are put in place.

Now, the Government Accountability Office has stated that moving regulation of domestic catfish to the USDA will create overlap and budgetary woes that are unnecessary.  In certain instances, they determined that three regulatory agencies (FDA, USDA, and Food Safety and Inspection Service) would be responsible for inspecting the same facility, a further drain on resources.

The GAO has thus concluded that Congress should consider repealing the directive for the USDA to take over domestic catfish production.  An amendment has been introduced in both the Senate and House to the newest Farm Bill to repeal the previous directive.