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August 18, 2005   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
August 18, 2005

MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Alabama Catfish Producers support a recent ban of Vietnamese-imported seafood that was initiated after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found illegal antibiotics in some imported fish earlier this week.

Dallas County catfish producer Butch Wilson serves as chairman of the Alabama Catfish Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation. He said the ban is another reason shoppers appreciate country-of-origin labeling and work done by American farmers to ensure a safe food supply.

"American farmers, including catfish producers, take pride in what we produce, and we know that it is the safest food in the world," Wilson said. "Food safety and water quality are of the utmost importance to American catfish producers."

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks banned the sale of Vietnamese-imported seafood in the state after a similar order was issued in Louisiana that resulted in nearly 350 tons of Vietnamese seafood being taken off the market.

Sparks issued the order Aug. 12 and said it will remain in effect until all basa fish in the state can be tested for fluoroquinolones - antibiotics outlawed for agricultural use in the U.S.

Sparks joined agricultural commissioners Bob Odom of Louisiana and Lester Spell of Mississippi in stopping the sale of all seafood from Vietnam after the FDA found the antibiotic in basa catfish imported from that country.

Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics used to treat tuberculosis, pneumonia and other infections in people and sometimes added to fish food in other countries. They are forbidden in food in the United States, Canada and Europe because of worries that germs could become resistant to them, thus rendering the antibiotics less effective in fighting infections.

Alabama raises more catfish per acre of water than any other state and ranks second only to Mississippi in annual sales. More than 600 million pounds of U.S. farm-raised catfish are processed each year, while only 9 million pounds of basa are imported into the United States. For more information about Alabama catfish, visit www.AlabamaCatfishProducers.com.

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