Alabama Ag Chief Welcomes FDA's Action on Chinese Seafood

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - Three Southeastern states in the heart of the US catfish industry had banned Chinese farm-raised catfish contaminated with unapproved drugs months ahead of FDA's decision yesterday to halt the products nationwide.

Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, whose department had taken the first steps on an import ban, said the Food and Drug Administration made the right decision.

He said the federal agency may have felt pressure from Congress.

In its order, the FDA said it was detaining three types of Chinese fish - catfish, basa and dace - as well as shrimp and eel after repeated testing turned up the unapproved drugs in the products.

Mississippi and Louisiana also had banned Chinese catfish earlier this year.

Sparks issued a "stop-sale" order in 2005 for Vietnamese farm-raised seafood and in April of this year for Chinese farm-raised catfish. He also said he hopes domestic seafood producers won't take advantage of FDA's decision by raising prices.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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