Higgins, Carter introduce legislation to combat contaminated foreign seafood

Published 2:35 pm Monday, July 1, 2024

Special to the American Press

U.S. Congressman Clay Higgins, R-La., and state Congressman Troy A. Carter Sr., D-La. introduced the Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act, which grants the Food and Drug Administration authority to destroy imported products that pose a significant public health concern.

Historically, the FDA has been responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of food, medicine, and medical devices. Currently, any FDA-regulated medical devices and medication can be destroyed if the agency deems the imported item a health risk for public use. However, this authority does not extend to imported food products that are inspected and fail to meet U.S. health and safety standards. Foreign entities routinely violate FDA standards by contaminating seafood imports with harmful chemicals that pose major health risks. These same companies can also port shop and utilize other ports of entry to place harmful products in the hands of American consumers.

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This legislation would grant the FDA additional authority to destroy food products that don’t pass initial inspection, ensuring that contaminated seafood imports don’t reach American consumers and potentially cause harm.

Last year, Congressman Higgins introduced the Imported Seafood Safety Standards Act, which holds foreign countries and exporters to the same standards that U.S. seafood producers and processors abide by.

“The United States must prioritize the health and safety of the American people,” Higgins said. “Currently, billions of pounds of un-inspected foreign seafood continue to enter the country, causing major health concerns. God only knows what’s in the shipments that enter through our ports. This legislation provides the FDA with the authority to destroy illegal seafood imports and ensure they do not reach American markets.”

“This legislation is a crucial step forward in safeguarding American’s health and supporting Louisiana’s economy,” Carter said. “By granting the FDA the necessary authority to destroy food products that fail to meet our stringent health and safety standards, we are closing a dangerous loophole that has allowed contaminated seafood to enter our markets. This bill protects consumers from potential health risks and upholds the integrity of our food supply chain, while supporting Louisiana fishermen and seafood processors.”