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OMB Extends Catfish Food Safety Inspection Rules Review
The Office of Management and Budget is extending its review of catfish food safety inspection rules proposed by the Agriculture Department. The action comes amid concerns that such inspections could trigger a trade war with Vietnam. State Department and trade officials and several members of Congress are critical of the proposal, saying catfish imports are being unfairly targeted, particularly Pangasius fish from Vietnam. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's proposed rules include fish from Asia that are marketed in the United States as basa, tra and swai. Catfish producers from China and Vietnam say the rules do not allow sufficient time for foreign producers to convert from the Food and Drug Administration inspection process. Under the 2008 farm bill, catfish inspections are to move to the USDA.

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