The US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said all imports of catfish, including pangasius, into the United States must be presented at an Official Import Inspection Establishment for reinspection by August 2.
This obligatory measure is based on the final rule published by FSIS in 2015, setting that all catfish products, including pangasius from any foreign country be reinspected before entering the US.
The final rule went into effect on March 1, 2016, but provided an 18-month transitional period until September 1, 2017, to ensure an orderly transition from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory oversight to the FSIS mandatory fish inspection program.
During the transitional period, the Agency is exercising broad discretion in enforcing the new regulatory requirements, except when product is determined to be adulterated or misbranded.
Now FSIS has determined that to apply for import reinspection, applicants, typically the Importer of Record, must submit a paper or an electronic inspection application form to FSIS in advance of the shipment’s arrival, but no later than when the entry is filed with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The applicant must identify, on the application, the official import inspection establishment where reinspection will occur.
After August 2, FSIS will begin taking action in regard to imported fish product that has bypassed FSIS import reinspection, but entered commerce, which means “failure to present” (FTP) product.
FSIS also strongly encourages importers and brokers to communicate and coordinate closely with your FSIS District Office, to facilitate full compliance prior to August 2.