USDA approves Vietnam’s catfish inspection system

as well as China’s and Thailand’s. But, all such products would continue to be subject to re-inspection at U.S. points-of- entry by FSIS inspectors. 

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) plans to publish a Federal Register notice on Wednesday, Sep 19,  formally designating China, Vietnam and Thailand as countries eligible to export catfish and catfish products to the United States.

The proposed rule is the latest chapter in an ongoing saga. Congress included provisions in both the 2004 and 2008 farm bills transferring catfish inspection from the Food and Drug Administration to USDA. FSIS published a final rule in Dec. 2015, which created a transitional mechanism for trade to continue while it determined whether China, Vietnam and Thailand’s inspection systems are equivalent to the U.S. system.

Under this proposal, only raw Siluriformes fish and fish products produced in certified Vietnamese establishments would be eligible for export to the United States. All such products would continue to be subject to re-inspection at U.S. points-of- entry by FSIS inspectors. 

NOTE: in the 2017 Appropriations Act, which directed FSIS to begin reinspections of ALL imported catfish and catfish products on Aug 2, 2017,  Congress said it “recognizes FSIS’ diligent work in preventing from entering or removing 547,928 pounds (more than 273 tons) of adulterated or ineligible imported Siluriformes product from U.S. commerce since April 15, 2016.”

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About the author  ⁄ AmCham Vietnam

AmCham is an independent association of companies with the objective of promoting trade and investment between Vietnam and the U.S. With two chapters, one in Ho Chi Minh City and one in Hanoi, our membership of 700 companies and 1,500 representatives is unified by a commitment to promote trade and investment between Vietnam and the United States.

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