(WASHINGTON TIMES) — Sen. John McCain is mounting a last-minute plea to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay implementation of new catfish inspection rules slated to fully kick in Friday, saying all catfish inspections should be returned to the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration.
Mr. McCain said the new inspection regime under the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is a thinly-disguised trade barrier against Asian catfish imports at the hands of domestic farmers in southern states.
“This wasteful program is a classic example of shortsighted, anti-free market protectionism at its worst,” Mr. McCain wrote in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week.
“I request that you delay implementation of the USDA Catfish Inspection Program until Congress has an opportunity to reverse this duplicative, wasteful program,” he wrote.
Most fish is inspected by the FDA, but Congress — led by southern Republicans looking to protect their state’s industry — included language in the 2008 Farm bill that set the stage to transfer catfish inspections to a more intrusive process under FSIS.
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