14:06 | 25/03/2015 Trade
The US Government is preparing to finalise inspection regulations that require all producers and processors of catfish to abide by the same food safety standards.
These regulations will cause difficulties not only to foreign producers, including Vietnam, but also to domestic farmers, according to specialists from the sector.
When passed, US Agriculture Department inspections will be conducted on a daily basis and will be more rigorous than the current random checks conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It could cost the US catfish industry millions of dollars to comply with these new standards, said John Sackton, a seafood industry analyst.
The American catfish industry, which is concentrated in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas, has been steadily losing market share in recent years.
The number of hectares devoted to catfish production dropped to 23,000 this year from 65,000 in 2008, according to the Agriculture Department.
The industry says some of the decline can be attributed to higher prices for corn, which is the primary source of catfish feed.
Several lawmakers, including senators John McCain and Jeanne Shaheen, described the Agriculture Department’s catfish inspection plan as wasteful and intended to protect only domestic catfish producers.
Source VOV News