« October 2007 Table of Contents
SFB theme issue: The safety of Chinese seafood
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
October 01, 2007
Most seafood businesses, especially those in tourist
destinations, spend summers doing what they do best: Selling
seafood. But those suppliers relying on farmed-seafood imports
from China were given a rude jolt this summer when the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration slapped an import alert on five
farmed-seafood species. Suppliers were immediately thrown into
damage-control mode, ensuring their Chinese suppliers were
following food-safety protocols and answering frantic calls
from their customers. The story broke several months ago and
the mainstream press is still running stories questioning the
safety of Chinese seafood imports.
The editors at SeaFood Business started the summer
determining the topic for our theme issue. This year the choice
was obvious: The safety of the country's imported seafood
supply. This issue's Top Story, "Guilty until proven innocent,"
by Associate Editor Steven Hedlund, reveals the weaknesses of
the FDA's import-inspection system and the challenges importers
have faced since the alert was issued.
The China coverage doesn't stop there: You'll get a candid
take on the China dilemma from Contributing Editor Peter
Redmayne. His column, "Margins threaten golden goose" on page
14, suggests the U.S. seafood buyer's fixation on price has
forced some Chinese farmers to cut food-safety corners. Wally
Stevens, executive director of the Global Aquaculture Alliance,
gives his opinion on the China matter in "Best Aquaculture
Practices: A solution for sustainability" on page 16. Stevens
comments on the increased need for certifying overseas
aquaculture sources as safe, thus creating an insurance policy
for seafood buyers and sellers.
SeaFood Business ' biennial processor survey reveals that
some processors are shifting their purchases away from China
until the brouhaha calms down. However, respondents filled out
the survey at the same time the import alert was announced, and
almost 25 percent of processors said they will increase their
sourcing from China in the next five years. Turn to page 30 to
read more seafood-processing industry topics, including the
sustainability and organic product trends.
The Chinese farmed-fish story certainly affects many seafood
buyers and will play out for many months to come. Readers can
rely on SFB to keep you abreast of all the issues.
Diversified Business Communications, publisher of SFB , in
September launched SeafoodSource.com , an online resource for
connecting seafood buyers and sellers. The Web site is a
comprehensive online industry portal that allows users to
search for suppliers, products and services. The site's content
includes Seafood Currents news and the Seafood Handbook from
Seafood Currents subcribers will continue to receive timely
news in their e-mail inbox three days a week, and
SeafoodSource.com users also will have the benefit of reading
the most pertinent seafood industry news coverage.