DearColleague.us

Letter

Zoe Lofgren

From the office of:

Zoe Lofgren

 

From: The Honorable Zoe Lofgren
Sent By:
arlet.abrahamian@mail.house.gov

Date: 7/29/2016

Sign Letter to FDA to Protect U.S. Consumers from Contaminated Seafood Imports

Dear Colleague,

In April of this year, dumping of toxic agents by a steel plant off the central coast of Vietnam led to a massive fish kill. I hope you’ll join me in sending the letter below urging the FDA to take the necessary measures to protect United States consumers from health hazards posed by potentially toxic seafood products imported from Vietnam, and the surrounding region.

Last month, the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, admitted to contaminating water on a 120 mile stretch of Vietnam’s central coast. The contaminants reportedly dumped into the sea by Formosa Steel include cyanide,
phenols and iron hydroxide, a poisonous mix which resulted in tons of fish washing up to the shore dead. The animals that ate these fish, such as seagulls, also turned up dead along the coast.

Several news outlets, such as the New York Times, have covered the enviromental disaster in Vietnam.

Please contact arlet.abrahamian@mail.house.gov in my office by Monday, August 1st COB to sign on or with any questions.

Cosigners: Lowenthal, Slaughter, DeFazio

Zoe Lofgren

Co-chair, Congressional Caucus on Vietnam

 

July X, 2016

Robert Califf, M.D.

Commissioner

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993

Dear Dr. Califf:

We write to express our deep concern regarding seafood and seafood products being imported from Vietnam. In April of this year, dumping of toxic agents by a steel plant off the central coast of Vietnam led to a massive fish kill. We believe it is important
for the FDA to take any and all measures available to protect United States consumers from health hazards posed by potentially toxic products imported from Vietnam, and the surrounding region.

Last month, the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, admitted to contaminating water on a 120 mile stretch of Vietnam’s central coast in the provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue. The toxic
agents reportedly dumped into the sea by Formosa Steel include cyanide, phenols and iron hydroxide, a poisonous mix which resulted in tons of fish washing up to the shore dead. The animals that ate these fish, such as seagulls, also turned up dead along the
coast.

The Vietnamese government has declared the waters off of the country’s central coast unsafe and banned all sale or use of dead fish in the processing of fish products. Despite the ban, Vietnamese authorities have confiscated illegal shipments of dried toxic
fish.  Furthermore, the contamination has not been contained to one area in Vietnam. Fish in Vietnam’s Hong River in the North, in lakes in the Central region, and even as far South as Saigon City have been dying.

Vietnam is a major exporter of seafood and seafood products, including fish sauce and dried or paste products processed from fish, to surrounding Asian countries, Europe, and the U.S. We urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue an Import Alert
on these products from Vietnam.

The FDA has recently issued Import Alerts in similar situations. Last month, an Import Alert was issued on all aquacultured shrimp, dace, and eel from the People’s Republic of China (CN) after a presence of antibiotic residue was discovered. In 2014, after
the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an Import Alert was issued on all food products likely to contain radionuclide contamination.

It is our hope that the FDA will take all measures at its disposal, including considering an outright ban of seafood and seafood products from Vietnam, until the risk of consuming these products diminishes to a level considered safe by the FDA. We urge the
FDA to act expeditiously in determining a plan to address this matter and look forward to the FDA’s response.

Sincerely,