State legislation friendly to agriculture
Aug 19, 2009 9:26 AM, By Paul L. Hollis, Farm Press Editorial Staff
"In recent years, imported catfish from Vietnam and China has flooded the U.S. market despite repeatedly testing positive for chemicals and antibiotics banned in this country."
Farm group leaders in the lower Southeast are claiming victories during state legislative sessions this year despite the constraints placed on lawmakers by budget shortfalls in every state.
In Alabama, a catfish labeling bill — HB 473 — passed easily and has been signed into law by Gov. Bob Riley. In recent years, imported catfish from Vietnam and China has flooded the U.S. market despite repeatedly testing positive for chemicals and antibiotics banned in this country.
The passage of the bill is being hailed as a victory for Alabama catfish farmers by Alabama Farmers Federation Catfish Division Director Mitt Walker.
The new labeling requirements take effect in August. The Alabama Department of Public Health, which is charged with enforcing the labeling standards, will develop rules related to the new law and will likely request comments from the public. To make compliance easier and less costly, Alabama Catfish Producers has agreed to provide free signs, menu stickers and table tents to restaurants serving U.S. farm-raised catfish. Alabama is the nation’s second-largest producer of farm-raised catfish.