New federal rule for catfish inspection process finalized

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Catfish and other ray-finned fish species will undergo a new inspection process starting in March.

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service released its final rule Wednesday on the new process.

Under the rule, the agency will conduct inspections at U.S. processing and slaughter facilities during all hours of operation, including at least one inspection per shift at plants that only process the fish.

Before the rule takes effect, countries that ship the fish to the U.S. will be required to provide a list of export facilities and documentation that they comply with U.S. Food and Drug Administration import requirements.

The 2014 Farm Bill shifted inspection responsibility from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Food Safety Inspection Service, which inspects meat, poultry and egg production facilities.