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Mainland Chinese Exports of Siluriformes Fish to the United States Greenlighted

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is amending its fish inspection regulations to list mainland China, Thailand and Vietnam as economies eligible to export Siluriformes fish and fish products to the United States. As a result, these economies will be able to continue to export these products to the U.S. market.

FSIS determined that mainland China’s, Thailand’s and Vietnam’s Siluriformes fish inspection systems are equivalent to the system that the United States has established under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and its implementing regulations. Only raw Siluriformes fish and fish products produced in certified establishments are eligible for export to the United States, however, and all such products are subject to re-inspection at U.S. points-of-entry by FSIS inspectors.

FSIS published a final rule on 2 December 2015 that established a mandatory inspection system for Siluriformes fish and fish products. The rule provided an 18-month period, from 1 March 2016 to 1 September 2017, for both the U.S. domestic Siluriformes fish industry and international trading partners to transition from the regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration, the agency formerly responsible for regulatory oversight of Siluriformes fish, to the regulatory requirements of FSIS. The agency required foreign countries to submit by 1 March 2016 written documentation identifying a list of establishments that had been exporting and would continue exporting Siluriformes fish to the United States. In addition, foreign countries had to submit written documentation by that date demonstrating that they had laws or other legal measures in place providing authority to regulate the growing and processing of fish for human food and assuring compliance with the FDA’s good manufacturing practices, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements, sanitation control procedures and other regulatory requirements.

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