Last December I read an article about this bill, I thought about the fish we eat and where it comes from....I assumed the catfish our IGA serves on Friday was American Catfish. It is not. I get an email news letter from the Center for Food Safety and yesterday they sent one concerning the passage of this bill by Congress. It really is FOOD FOR THOUGHT! I thought it would make a good read but not before bed as they say at Thought's from Frank and Fern!
Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement
Update: The bill to Fast Track the TPP and other secret trade deals was officially introduced in Congress on April 16, 2015
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade deal currently under
negotiation among 12 nations—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,
Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United
States, and Vietnam. If ratified by these governments, TPP would be the
largest trade deal in history -- representing 792 million people and
accounting for 40 percent of the world economy1 -- yet it's being written and negotiated in secret.
That’s right—none of the details of this sweeping trade agreement are available to the public.
The only text that has been made public so far has been through leaked
documents. Members of Congress have extremely limited access to the
negotiation texts. But Corporate representatives have access to, and in
some instances have written the negotiation documents through USTR
advisory committees, where they “significantly outnumber representatives
of organized labor, environmental advocates and academic experts”.2
What's been leaked about it so far reveals that the TPP would
offshore millions of American jobs, expose the U.S. to imports of unsafe
food, and empower corporations to attack hard-fought U.S. environmental
and health safeguards.
For example, the TPP would require the U.S to allow food imports if
the exporting country claims that their safety regime is "equivalent" to
our own, even if it violates the key principles of our food safety laws.
So, fish from Vietnam and other TPP countries using antibiotics and
other drugs banned in the U.S. would be allowed under equivalency rules
in the agreement. These rules would effectively outsource domestic food
inspection to other countries. Further, any U.S. food safety rules on
pesticides, labeling or additives that is higher than international
standards could be subject to challenge as "illegal trade barriers."
Instead of using trade agreements to elevate economic, health, and environmental standards across borders, the TPP creates a race to the bottom.
What’s worse, Congress is currently considering granting “fast track” approval of the TPP.
“Fast track” enables trade agreements to become law by removing a
democratic step of lawmaking by stripping Congress of its authority to
debate or amend the content of a trade deal. Congress gets a vote, but
only after the negotiations have been completed.
Tell Congress to Vote “No” on Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and demand the text of the TPP be made public!
Here is a brief breakdown of this bill and some information about the state of fish and seafood imported to the USA.
Seafood Safety and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
December 05, 2014
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade deal currently under
negotiation among 12 nations—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada,
Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States,
and Vietnam. The TPP includes some of the leading fish
exporting countries in the world—Vietnam, Chile, Japan, and Malaysia are
among the top 20 aquaculture centers worldwide.
Already about one
in five shrimp, three in five crabs, and three in five catfish consumed
by Americans come from TPP countries (2012 data).
In many TPP
countries, farm fish are raised with chemicals and antibiotics that are
not allowed in the U.S. The TPP aims to reduce or eliminate trade
barriers on fish imports, further increase U.S. seafood imports, and put
additional pressures on already inadequate federal inspection of
seafood imports. Currently, just over 1 percent of imported fish and
seafood shipments is inspected or tested. More than half of these are
only sight inspected “for obvious defects that would be apparent without
In sum, TPP could negatively impact food
safety of U.S. citizens and also contribute to the continuing decline of
jobs in the U.S. seafood sector. Additional food safety hazards could
reach the U.S. if China is included in the TPP (see Seafood Imports from
SEAFOOD IMPORTS AND FOOD SAFETY
➢ U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that
imported fish were the most common source of foodborne illness
from imported food from 2005-2010.
➢ Fish/shellfish alone make up 20 percent of food imports refused
by FDA, largely due to the high percentage of aquaculture products,
which are associated with veterinary drug residues and unsafe
➢ Around 25 percent of fish purchased from supermarkets by
researchers in North Carolina contained formaldehyde. All
contaminated samples were imported from Asian countries.
➢ In 2013, 100 percent of Vietnamese catfish farms used
antibiotics not approved in the U.S.
➢ U.S. scientists found that 44 percent of catfish and related species
from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Cambodia from
2002-2010 tested positive for an antibiotic banned in the U.S.
➢ Pathogens have also been a frequent problem in seafood imports,
including Salmonella and Listeria
➢ Residues of nitrofurans continue to be found in imported shrimp, but have been banned by FDA in animals produced for food since 2002 because their residues are carcinogenic and have not been shown to be safe.
➢ Malachite green is banned in aquaculture in the U.S., EU, and Canada due to its suspected mutagenicity, but has been detected by FDA in imported eel and several species of imported fish.
A class of synthetic antibiotics called fluoroquinolones is
regularly found in several species of imported fish. According the
World Health Organization (WHO), the use of fluoroquinolones
in food animals has led to the emergence of resistant bacteria that
are generally cross-resistant to other antibiotics used in humans.
Chloramphenicol is not is not approved for use in any food-producing
animals in the U.S., but has been detected in imported shrimp,
crayfish, and crabs. Its use in humans is restricted to life-
threatening situations when less toxic drugs are ineffective because
it causes a type of bone marrow depression, which is usually
irreversible and fatal.
CURRENT STATE OF IMPORTED
➢ In 2009, 80 percent of total seafood in U.S. food supply was
imported. Roughly 9 out of 10 fish eaten in U.S. is imported, and
50 percent of fish imports are farm-raised.
➢ In 2011, only 90 federal seafood inspectors examined 5.2 billion
pounds of imports. As a result of inadequate resources, just over
1 percent of imported fish and seafood shipments is inspected or
tested, more than half of which are only sight inspected “for obvious
defects that would be apparent without laboratory analysis.”
➢ The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tasked with
regulating imported seafood safety, requires seafood processors
to meet Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)
standards. In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
stated that 33 percent of foreign seafood processors did not
adequately identify hazards in their HACCP plans.
➢ GAO chastised FDA in 2011 for using an outdated approach
to assessing the safety of seafood imports, despite significant
increases in imported seafood and the emergence of aquaculture
as a major source of seafood imports; GAO stated that
seafood has been subjected to “limited U.S. oversight by FDA.
➢ In contrast to low inspection rates in the U.S., the European
Union, in contrast, inspects 20-50 percent of imports and found
four times more veterinary drug violations on imported seafood
than the U.S.
POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF TTP ON U.S.
➢ The number of midsized fishing businesses in the U.S. fell
by 22.7 percent between 2002 and 2011 as the volume of fish
and seafood imports grew by 23.7 percent. TPP would further
increase seafood imports, impacting U.S. jobs.
➢ Catfish imports from Vietnam increased from 7 million pounds
in 2000 to 228 million pounds in 2012. At less than half of the
price of American catfish, the federal government acknowledged
in 2013 that Vietnamese catfish harmed U.S. catfish farmers,
and an estimated 22,000 domestic catfish industry jobs have been lost
over the past decade.
➢ Shrimp imports rose from 125 million pounds in 2000 to 224
million pounds in 2012. Corresponding to the high volume
of imports, the U.S. commercial shrimp industry dropped by
shrimp catch a decade earlier.
FURTHER POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF TPP
➢ TPP aims to reduce or eliminate trade barriers, including U.S.
tariffs and non-tariff barriers, on fish imports, increasing the flow
of fish products into the U.S. in conjunction with less regulatory
➢ Food labels could be challenged as non-tariff trade barriers under
TPP, which would impose limits on labels providing information
on where a food product comes from.
➢ Under TPP, seafood imports could be allowed in the U.S. even
though other TPP countries may use additives drugs that
do not follow U.S. food safety guidelines
SEAFOOD IMPORTS FROM CHINA
➢ In 2006, FDA issued an import alert for eels produced in China,
and in 2007 issued an alert for all farm-raised catfish, shrimp,
carp, and eel from China.
➢ FDA issued an import alert in 2013 on five species of
aquaculture fish imported from China because of illegal drugs
➢ According to U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Most fish
and shrimp imported from China are cultured in ponds that
frequently have poor water quality. Farmers commonly use
drugs to control disease and fungal infections in these ponds”.
➢ Shipments of eels from China have been contaminated with
It is pretty scary and it is all for the sake of cheap food...but it is not so cheap when you look at the cost to our economy in jobs and industry and even worse when you think of what we are feeding ourselves!
PS: Please forgive the odd spacing...Blogger and I had some serious battles and it won!