Southwest Louisiana US Congressman Clay Higgins is introducing legislation that would require imported seafood be held to the same safety standards as American seafood. The Imported Seafood Safety Standards Act would beef up the number of inspections conducted on foreign fish. Higgins says US protecting US seafood isn’t just a Bayou issue.
“It’s not just important for Louisiana, it’s important for our nation. American farmers, American fishermen, shrimp, crawfish. All we need is a level playing field.”
The bill would increase inspections to 20 percent of all food imported, up from roughly ten percent now, demand that food meet FDA standards, and require that first set of shipments from any new overseas company have 100 percent of its cargo inspected.
Higgins says it’s not just about protecting the state and countries’ economic interest, he says allowing tons of uninspected food from countries with lax regulations to end up on American plates could be a public safety issues.
“You don’t know what’s in the stuff, you don’t know what chemicals are in it, what herbicides, what pesticides. You don’t know what biological material are in them. And very, very few of these shipments are tested.”
The topic has been a focus for past Louisiana Congressman, but all previous efforts have stalled out. The Republican Congressman says he expects it won’t be an easy fight, considering the resources available to international seafood companies.
“They will come after a bill like this. They don’t want a change in the status quo. There’s so much money in it for them but it’s not fair. It’s not fair to the American worker.”