March 23, 2018

Congress Acts to Stop Seafood Fraud

Oceana, an advocacy group that works to protect the world’s oceans, announced that Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) introduced the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE) Act to address the growing problem of seafood fraud. Oceana released a study last month that showed 33% of seafood sold in the United States is mislabeled; some of the mislabeling can lead to serious health consequences.

Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell said in a statement, “Seafood fraud is a national problem that requires federal attention. Rep. Markey should be applauded for his swift action to stop seafood fraud in the U.S. Seafood fraud not only cheats consumers, but it also hurts honest fishermen and seafood businesses along the supply chain. Oceana is calling on Congress to pass the SAFE Seafood Act to ensure that the seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught, and honestly labeled. Americans deserve to know more about the seafood they purchase, including the species name, where, when, and how it was caught, if it was farmed or previously frozen, and if any additive were used during processing.”

In a statement, Rep. Markey said, “Fish fraud is a national problem that needs a national solution. This bill finally tells the seafood swindlers and fish fraudsters that we will protect America’s Fishermen and consumers from Massachusetts to Alaska. From tackle to table, this bill makes the entire seafood supply chain more transparent and trustworthy.”

The bill expands the ability of the FDA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to refuse entry of unsafe or fraudulent seafood shipments. NOAA will be able to levy civil penalties against violators. The Act also addresses concerns over seafood safety.

The bill is co-sponsored by Walter ones (R-NC), John Tierney (D-MA), Bill Keating (D-MA), Lois Capps (D-CA), and Jo Bonner (R-AL). Senator MArk Begich (D-AK) is going to introduce a companion bill in the Senate soon.

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