Role in Implementing the Task Force Recommendations:
As one of the Nation’s leading authorities ensuring the safety and quality of food products for consumption—both domestically produced or imported from other nations—the USDA brings a host of expertise involved with the tracking and labeling of food products for both export and import. Some of the key programs under USDA’s jurisdiction that are relevant to the Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud include:
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
—Through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s COOL program for wild caught and farm-raised fish and shellfish, the USDA conducts compliance reviews in retail stores and audits of the seafood supply chain to combating economic fraud. The COOL program’s enforcement activities include thousands of annual visits to grocery stores, supermarkets, and club stores throughout all 50 states by utilizing partnerships with state agencies, and; comprehensive commodity audits of direct and indirect suppliers of retail stores.
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
—The FSIS is the public health regulatory agency under the USDA and is responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products—both domestically produced and imported from other countries—are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled.
—In 2008 and 2014 Congress amended the Agricultural Marketing Act (Farm Bills), requiring the FSIS prepare new regulations for labeling catfish. Specifically, under the new regulations, only the species Siluriformes
, produced by U.S. aquaculture operations, would be allowed to be labeled as catfish in the U.S. market. Publication of the final regulation can be found here.