Newsweek’s Imported Chinese Fish Folly
I dont know if any of you saw this but Newsweek.com has a Health column thats being touted as a Web Exclusive. Its called Wheres the Food From? and it takes aim at imported products from China. After reading it think Ive come up with a better title: Where are the Facts From?
The author suggests one way to stay safe when it comes to dangerous Chinese products would be to avoid the seafood. Why? You ask. Because according to her, currently the FDA is blocking imports of Chinese farm-raised catfish, bass, shrimp, dace and eel while it waits for cleaner fish farms and better inspections.
Iwas unaware that the FDA was blocking imports of Chinese seafood. And apparently so was the FDA. Uh oh- someone get the boys from the blocking-imported-seafood-from-china division on the phone– stat.
While the FDA has detained some imported Chinese seafood it has not blocked importation. The FDAs action is merely a requirement for additional testing prior to clearing those particular products for entry into the U.S.
In fact FDA has even said that the seafood they are taking a closer look at does, not represent an imminent public health threat. Whats more it says the FDA’s action is precautionary.
So, Ive got all this Chinese seafood in my freezer- what does the FDA want me to do with it? Well, theyre so concerned they suggest you eat it.
NFIs letter to Newsweek below:
June 16, 2008
Health & Medicine Senior Editor
Dear Mr. Adler,
I am writing to express concern over Linda Sterns Newsweek Web Exclusive titled Health: Wheres the Food From?
In Ms. Sterns advice on how to stay safe she suggests avoiding seafood imported from China because, currently the FDA is blocking imports of Chinese farm-raised catfish, bass, shrimp, dace (similar to carp) and eel while it waits for cleaner fish farms and better inspections.
This statement is factually inaccurate. The FDA is not blocking imports of Chinese seafood. While the FDA has detained some imported Chinese seafood it has not blocked importation of these farmed fish. The FDAs action is merely a requirement for additional testing prior to clearing those particular products for entry into the U.S. FDA officials emphasize there is no imminent public health threat and that FDA’s action is precautionary. FDA officials also continue to indicate that seafood currently on the market is safe and Americans should not have any concern about eating it. This is a case where imported Chinese farmed eel, dace, shrimp, basa and catfish continue to be imported but are simply required to undergo additional testing before they are released for sale to the consumer.
With accuracy in mind we ask that you remove this column from your website or correct it.
Thank you for your consideration.
National Fisheries Institute
cc: Bob Steele, Poynter Institute