WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) has introduced H.R. 8146, the Imported Seafood Testing Act, which would increase inspections on imported seafood and levy strict penalties against foreign actors found in violation of U.S. seafood import laws.
Historically, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which monitors seafood imports from foreign countries, has tested just 3% of all imports. Foreign bad actors who use illegal additives and rely on enslaved workers to harvest seafood are notorious for falsely labeling imports to avoid detection by the FDA and undercut American seafood producers.
Specifically, the bill:
- requires the inspection and testing of no less than 20% of all seafood imported annually;
- requires inspection of the first 15 shipments of seafood from any new exporter;
- levies a one-year suspension against exporters with three or more violations;
- authorizes the Secretary to refuse all shipments of seafood from any country with repeated violations;
- authorizes the destruction of imported seafood that fails to meet U.S. safety requirements;
- establishes a webpage tracking all shipments that are detained or destroyed and the status of any countries failing to meet minimum standards;
- allows violators who knowingly make a false statement concerning a test or inspection to be fined up to $250,000 for each violation.
Read the bill here.
Congressman Higgins issued the following statement:
“The American people deserve to know that all seafood is safe and high-quality. Our legislation punishes foreign seafood dumping and holds imported shipments to the same standards as domestic product. This Bill helps to prioritize American industry and hold bad actors accountable. With a level playing field, America’s seafood producers will compete and win. That includes harvesters across the Gulf Coast. In my opinion, Louisiana seafood is the highest quality in the world. Foreign products cannot compete with our own, unless the deck is stacked. H.R. 8146 protects Americans from foreign criminal imports.”