Senators in the United States are urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to retain and strengthen seafood traceability rules, to ‘ensure Americans are consuming safe, legally caught and honestly labeled seafood.’
They called on the FDA to ‘implement more rigorous, electronic record keeping that can be easily reported to regulators,’ and ‘to ensure that consumers are provided with basic information about seafood, including the specific species, where it was caught, how it was caught, and whether it was farmed or caught wild.’
“Seafood is a valuable source of protein and nutrients in our diet, and seafood fisheries and businesses support U.S. coastal communities. However, according to NOAA Fisheries, the United States imports 70% to 85% of our seafood,” wrote the senators. “These imports pass through complex global supply chains, in which illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is widespread—depleting fish and other marine species, destroying ocean habitat, and enabling forced labor and human rights abuses around the world.”
The senators’ letter also highlights the issues caused by lack of transparency and inaccurate labeling of seafood products. Mislabeled products or products that are being passed off as one type of fish, but are something completely different, allow unsafe or illegally caught seafood to make its way into our supply chains.
“[…] this practice of seafood mislabeling can cover up a broad array of potential contaminants, pathogens, and allergens,” they continued. “In the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Congress directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to identify a list of high-risk foods and establish recordkeeping requirements for these foods to protect public health.”
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