Effective February 4, 2019, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has ordered the detention at all U.S. ports of entry of tuna and any such merchandise manufactured wholly or in part by the Tunago No. 61, which is a fishing vessel owned by Tunago Fishery Co., LTD a company located in Vanuatu. According to the CBP press release of February 6, 2019, importers of detained shipments are provided an opportunity to export their goods or demonstrate that they were not produced with forced labor. The Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1307) bans imports of merchandise or food produced in whole or at least in part by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor, and indentured labor.
I am at the final day of the annual International Boston Seafood Show held at the Boston Convention Center. With record attendance and a record number of exhibitors filling the convention center floor with extravagant booths overflowing with shrimp, fish, crab, lobster, and other seafood delectables from all over the world, the Show is a success. After all, this is the largest seafood show in North and South America.
In 2010, Americans consumed almost 6 billions pounds of seafood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that the nation's food supply, including seafood, is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. That is a tough task considering 80% of the seafood we eat is imported from countries all over the world. Unfortunately, the reality is that seafood fraud is common. Moreover, it can have not only economic, but food safety, consequences.
Americans are constantly bombarded with warnings that the seafood we eat is contaminated with salmonella, listeria, or some other antibiotic, fungicide, or microorganism that will make us sick. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking more samples of imported seafood, holding more seafood for laboratory analysis, and rejecting more seafood than in past years. That is true of basa from Vietnam, crabmeat from Indonesia, and a variety of seafood from countries as far away as China, or as close to the United States as the Bahamas.