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WASHINGTON, D.C— Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman of the Health, Education,Labor and Pensions Committee, released the following statement in response to the FDA’scountrywide import alert for a wide variety of farm-raised seafood from China."Today's announcement underscores the necessity of strong steps to protect the foodAmerican families eat. Earlier this year, the Senate took an important step by includingprovisions to improve food safety -- including the safety of farm-raised seafood -- in thecomprehensive FDA reform bill approved earlier this year.” Below is a section of the FDA reform bill passed in the Senate: SEC. 515. ENHANCED AQUACULTURE AND SEAFOOD INSPECTION. (a) Findings- Congress finds the following: (1) In 2007, there has been an overwhelming increase in the volume of aquaculture andseafood that has been found to contain substances that are not approved for use in food in theUnited States. (2) As of May 2007, inspection programs are not able to satisfactorily accomplish the goals ofensuring the food safety of the United States. (3) To protect the health and safety of consumers in the United States, the ability of theSecretary of Health and Human Services to perform inspection functions must be enhanced. (b) Heightened Inspections- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in thissection as the `Secretary') is authorized to, by regulation, enhance, as necessary, theinspection regime of the Food and Drug Administration for aquaculture and seafood, consistentwith obligations of the United States under international agreements and United States law.(c) Report to Congress- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, theSecretary shall submit to Congress a report that-- (1) describes the specifics of the aquaculture and seafood inspection program; (2) describes the feasibility of developing a traceability system for all catfish and seafoodproducts, both domestic and imported, for the purpose of identifying the processing plant oforigin of such products; and (3) provides for an assessment of the risks associated with particular contaminants andbanned substances. (d) Partnerships With States- Upon the request by any State, the Secretary may enter intopartnership agreements, as soon as practicable after the request is made, to implementinspection programs regarding the importation of aquaculture and seafood.(e) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums asmay be necessary to carry out this section. ###