SeaFood Business

MAY 2014

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U.S. News Photo by Laura Lee Dobson WASHINGTON, D.C. Support builds for GMO labeling act study. "Te solution to this problem is requiring proof of legality and traceabil- ity as a condition to import into the U.S., ensuring that all seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled." FDA allows irradiation on crustacean shellfsh Te U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow irradiation on crustacean shellfsh to control foodborne patho- gens and extend shelf life. Te use of ionizing radia- tion will reduce, but not entirely eliminate, the num- ber of pathogenic mi- croorganisms — including Listeria, Vibrio and E. coli — in or on crustaceans. "Ir- radiation is not a substitute for proper food-handling practices," FDA pointed out, adding that the change applies to all product forms. "Crustaceans treated with ionizing radiation must be stored, handled and cooked in the same way as non-irradiated foods." All food treated as such must bear the "radura" symbol (pictured), the international mark for irradiation, on its packaging. FDA has previ- ously allowed irradiation for poultry, meat, molluscan shellfsh, iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach. Te move to add crustaceans to the list is in response to a petition fled by the National Fisher- ies Institute (NFI) 13 years ago. "Ionizing radiation is a proven and ef- fective food safety technology that can now be in- corporated into an already robust modern system that ensures the wholesome- ness of crustaceans," says Gavin Gibbons, NFI's VP of communications. GALVESTON, Texas Oil spill hampers seafood sales More than 160,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a barge in Galveston Bay, Texas, on March 22, closing the 50-mile Houston Ship Channel. Soon after, the Texas Department of State Health Services warned consumers not to eat fsh, shrimp or crabs from the areas impacted by the spill. Area seafood businesses im- mediately reported that con- sumers perceived that Texas seafood may be tainted. "Tey killed our retail sales for Lent. It's a little scary," says Nello Cassarino, owner of wholesale and retail op- eration Galveston Shrimp Co. While many area resi- dents typically buy seafood on Fridays during Lent, sales at the company's retail out- let dropped by around 75 percent on the frst Friday after the oil spill. Cassarino worries about the impact on shrimp supply when the season begins in September. "All the shrimp that come into the estuaries [in the Bay] this time of year lay their eggs. Each shrimp lays 850,000 to 1 million eggs and there is a 60 to 70 per- cent survival rate," she says. "It's a huge amount of prod- uct that could be damaged." Study: Up to one-third of U.S. imports illegal A study published in Ma- rine Policy estimates that between 20 and 32 percent of wild seafood the United States imports comes from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fshing. Valued at $1 billion to $2 billion annually, IUU catch represents between 15 to 26 percent of the total value of wild seafood imports. Te study by Ganapathiraju Pramod of the University of British Columbia, et al., fnds that the amount of IUU seafood entering the U.S. market is in line with global estimates of pirate fshing of 13 to 31 percent of the global catch, worth between $10 billion and $23.5 billion annually. "Il- legal fshing undercuts hon- est fshermen and seafood businesses that play by the rules, and the U.S. should not be incentivizing pirate fshers by creating a legal market for their products," says Beckie Zisser, ocean advocate for Oceana, which alerted the media about the foods on our shelves already contain a GMO ingredient." Te legislation also allows the FDA to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily la- bel their products for the absence-of or presence- of GMO food ingredients. "It will allow companies to voluntarily label foods as non- GMO and enable those con- sumers who wish to purchase non-GMO foods to do so," says Ray Gaesser, president of the American Soybean As- sociation. "Importantly, how- ever, it won't force consumers to pay more for food just be- cause some interests want to require mandatory labeling of safe and healthy foods made with GMOs." T he National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and a number of other food and agriculture organizations support new proposed fed- eral legislation to label ge- netically modifed organisms (GMOs) in food products. Reps. Mike Pompeo (R- Kan.) and G.K. Butterfeld (D-N.C.) introduced the bi- partisan Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would afrm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the nation's authority on the use and labeling of GMOs. It will also require the FDA to approve all new GMO ingre- dients before they are brought to market and will set a federal standard for the labeling def- nition of "natural" foods. Federal legislation would be better than the current "patch- work" of GMO labeling regu- lations in several states, says Gavin Gibbons, NFI director of media relations. "We want to provide con- sistency, not confusion. So many states are getting into disrupting commerce with- out improving food safety, so we support federal legisla- tion," Gibbons says. GMO labels should not be added to food products, he adds. "Te Food and Drug Adminis- tration has said there aren't food safety issues related to GMOs. If there are not food safety issues, we don't think a label belongs on it. Besides, there are some estimates that as much as 80 percent of 8 SeaFood Business May 2014 For updated NEWS, go to www.SeafoodSource.com 06_11NewsRecap.indd 8 4/21/14 8:06 AM

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