Friday, April 17, 2015

Have you heard about this Bill?

 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

The 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,
Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.  The TPP includes some of the leading fish
and seafood 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 laboratory analysis.”

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 China).


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.



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.



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

30 million pounds and $200 million about a third of the value of the
shrimp catch a decade earlier.


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


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
and additives

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!


  1. The only fish that has been safe to eat is wild caught Alaskan salmon. Now that is in question, too, because of the level of radiation in the Pacific ocean from Fukushima. I never eat fish in restaurants because it is usually farmed fish or from China. Atlantic salmon is all farmed fish. It is bad stuff no matter what country they produce it. It seems our congress is in the pocket of this communist president. Betrayal big time.

    1. We noticed Wendy's advertising North Pacific cod for their new fish sandwich does seem like people have totally forgotten Fukishima. The ills of fish farming show up with the drug levels in fish...just like the CAFO's on land. Have you contacted your Congressman....will he do anything?

    2. Our senator and congressman were written to about our concerns and we got a wishy washy vague form letter back. They were all promises and caring in town halls before they got elected, you know. It is all a scam. Our senator is voting to give Obama fast tract authority on this treaty. We have been sold down the river, folks.

  2. wrote to brown and portman last year on the TPP issue [ohio].
    received form letters-- basically 'don't bother us-- we'll tel you what to do.'.

    i figure that palms are being crossed with silver at a rate of speed unknown heretofore.

    deb h.

    1. We are not really surprised but the main stream media is sure quiet about it. I miss the days of REAL investigative journalism. Worse yet is the greed in politicians...or at least their ambition to walk the party line, not do what is best for the people who they represent.
      Ralph and I are planning a stocked pond for our future fish dinners.

  3. It seems that raising your own food, whether meat or vegetables, is the only safe source of food anymore, Fiona. We really enjoyed salmon when we lived in Alaska, but haven't bought anymore since Fukushima, and won't. It's sad really, but these are the conditions under which we live. I'm just grateful to be able to see, read and understand what is happening, and that we have been blessed with the opportunity to raise and grow our own food.


  4. Looks like I will have to add fish to my 'do not eat unless you raise it yourself' list. What bothers me most is that most people in this country don't give a rap about this and won't until it's too late. Looks like the zombies have already arrived....

  5. My Father and I used to fish every August when the whitefish ran...we had fun and caught our daily limit so we could have good fish dinners over the winter. That river was fished by families all over our community and we had tasty grown at home so to speak fish. The government damed the river for recreation. The food source was lost and the river is being slowly polluted with things like gas, oil and garbage from the heavy recreation use. I guess this is part of the reason for having to import food...and maybe it stops China from calling in the debt or am I just getting paranoid?

  6. There have been offhand, brief allusions to this bill on some of the alternative news sources. The general consensus of these sources is that this is a bad thing for us, but apparently Obama wants it's passage to be part of his legacy.

  7. It is just the same in Canada, the politicians hope you don't find out until it is too late. It really seems like a full time job keeping up with it. From what I've read some European countries, especially Germany, have much stricter controls, so it can be done.