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May 15, 2007   Email to Friend 

DAVIS URGES FDA TO ADOPT TOUGHER RULES ON IMPORTED CATFISH
Christy Rhodes Kirk
(334) 240-7103
May 15, 2007

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama 7th District U.S. Representative Artur Davis (D-Birmingham) submitted a letter Monday to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration calling for tougher inspection standards for catfish products imported from China.

This move follows the "stop-sale order" issued by Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks last month after tests conducted by the state found dangerous levels of a banned antibiotic in 14 out of 20 catfish imported from China.

In the letter addressed to the FDA Commissioner, Davis calls for tougher inspection standards for Chinese imports as well as a renewed interest by the agency for global food and safety standards. "It is alarming that only 1.3 percent of imported fish, fruit, and vegetables are currently inspected," Davis says in the letter. "The FDA, the federal agency with responsibility for the safety of 80 percent of the food supply, needs to take the lead in maintaining a rigorous, flexible, and transparent food safety process."

Tests conducted by the state department of agriculture discovered the banned antibiotic fluoroquinolones, which has been found to allow the development of certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This discovery comes on the heels of other issues with Chinese food imports, including wheat gluten contaminated with melamine, which has been connected to animal deaths from pet food in the United States. Melamine is a chemical used in fertilizer in Asia.

In addition to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have also banned the sale of Chinese catfish, and the world?s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, has removed catfish fillet products from China from its shelves.


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