[Industry news] Third-Party Hold-and-Test of Imported Fish of the Order Siluriformes will be Discontinued

In its constituent update dated Dec 08, 2017, FSIS is announcing that the interim Third-Party “Hold-and-Test” sampling and testing protocol for imported Siluriformes fish will be discontinued on Dec. 18, 2017. During the 18-month transitional period, prior to full enforcement of the regulatory requirements for Siluriformes fish, when FSIS testing revealed imported fish products with violative levels of drugs, pesticides, dyes, metals, nitrofurans, or other chemical residues, the Agency required Importers of Record (IORs) importing subsequent shipments from the implicated foreign establishment to have those shipments sampled and tested through an accredited third-party laboratory. FSIS is suspending the interim third-party testing requirement. In response to new violative findings, FSIS will implement an intensified level of reinspection, as it does for other imported meat and poultry, based on the policy outlined in FSIS Directive 9900.6, “Laboratory Sampling Program For Imported Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products.” FSIS will issue instructions to Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) notifying them to discontinue the Third-Party Hold-and-Test sampling and testing protocol. FSIS will also send letters to importers and customs brokers, as well as to the Central Competent Authorities (CCAs) in the foreign countries that are exporting Siluriformes fish and fish products to the U.S., notifying them of this decision. The Agency will also advise the CCAs of the disposition of any shipments currently under the Third-Party Hold-and-Test policy. FSIS is encouraging importers and brokers to communicate and coordinate closely with business partners, inspection establishments and the FSIS District Office.

(Source: FSIS’s Constituent Update )