The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued final rules that, effective Dec. 5, will list China, Thailand, and Vietnam as eligible to export Siluriformes fish and fish products to the U.S. in light of a determination that these countries’ fish inspection systems are equivalent to that of the U.S.

Under these rules, only raw Siluriformes fish and fish products produced in certified establishments in China, Thailand, and Vietnam will be eligible for export to the U.S. All such products will continue to be subject to reinspection by FSIS at U.S. points of entry for transportation damage, product and container defects, labeling, proper certification, general condition, accurate count, etc. In addition, FSIS will continue to conduct other types of reinspection activities, such as taking product samples for laboratory analysis to detect drug and chemical residues and pathogens and to identify product species and composition.

Products that pass reinspection will be stamped with the official mark of inspection and allowed to enter U.S. commerce. If they do not meet U.S. requirements they will be refused entry and within 45 days must be exported to the country of origin, destroyed, or converted to animal food (subject to Food and Drug Administration approval), depending on the violation.

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