November 21, 2015 -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is providing an update to Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) 225-14-009 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS). The MOU, which was signed on April 30, 2014 and created at the instruction of Congress, outlines the transfer of primary regulatory oversight of domestically produced and imported Siluriformes fish and fish products that will become effective when the final rule is issued and after implementation of an orderly, phased transition plan that has been developed by both parties. The MOU is intended to improve interagency cooperation on food safety and fraud prevention and to maximize the effectiveness of personnel and resources related to examination and inspection of Siluriformes fish and fish products, including commercial catfish, basa, pangasius, and swai/tra.
At this time, a final rule has not been issued and published in the Federal Register and the FDA will continue to have primary regulatory oversight over Siluriformes fish and fish products in the interim until the final rule has been issued and the specific timeline for transfer of primary regulatory oversight has been established.
After transfer of primary regulatory oversight for Siluriformes fish and fish products from FDA to FSIS occurs in the future in the manner indicated above (i.e., final rule issued and specific timeline for transfer established/implemented), the FDA will no longer inspect Siluriformes fish and fish products at domestic and foreign establishments that grow, slaughter, or process such fish and fish products unless requested by FSIS. Additionally, the FDA will not sample or analyze Silurformes fish and fish products bearing an official USDA inspection legend or an official USDA import mark unless requested by FSIS. The FDA will continue to exercise regulatory oversight over all other fish and fish products.
The FDA and FSIS will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. The FDA also encourages our state partners to begin discussing any potential state legislative or inspection program changes that may need to be implemented in the future after the transfer of primary regulatory oversight of Siluriformes fish and fish products to the FSIS has been completed.
For more information, please see the attached May 9, 2014 Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Constituent Update regarding the announcement of the MOU. A copy of the CFSAN Constituent Update and MOU 225-14-009 can also be viewed at the website provided below.
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