Fast Track trade authority promises a sea of unsafe fish imports
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) with Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) will hold a press conference tomorrow on the dangers of Fast Track to food safety standards. They will express their concern about trade promotion legislation that would fast track a Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement which contains secret provisions related to food safety. Specifically they will call on the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to release to the public the text on food safety contained in the Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures or SPS chapter.
What: Press conference by Democratic members of Congress in opposition to Trade Promotional Authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Where: House Triangle at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.
When: Thursday, May 14 at 12 p.m. EST
Background: TPP provisions on “sanitary and phytosanitary measures” aim to roll back government regulations related to food safety, animal welfare and plant health. The term “sanitary measures” is used in international trade law for public health policies and regulations related to food safety, while “phytosanitary measures” is a term for policies related to animal and plant health.
Commentary: Lisa Archer, director of the Friends of the Earth’s Food and Technology program, commented on the importance of food safety in the TPP:
Global corporations engaged in industrial agriculture and aquaculture seek to use secretive international trade agreements like the TPP to roll back important regulations related to food safety, public health and animal welfare, which they regard as ‘non-tariff barriers to trade.’ In fact, such government measures are necessary to protect the public from antibiotic resistant bacteria, artificial hormones, pesticide residues, heavy metals and other chemicals and practices linked to adverse health impacts.
Fast Track and the TPP deal, in particular, promise a flood of dangerous seafood imports. U.S. inspectors are currently able to examine only about 2 percent of fish and seafood imported into our country every year. The TPP means more seafood imports from Pacific nations with notoriously low food safety standards. Factory-style Vietnamese and Malaysian aquaculture production facilities are often unsanitary. Fish and shellfish are routinely dosed with antibiotics to compensate for crowded and filthy conditions, which leads to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Dangerous chemicals like fungicides are frequently added to the mix, even though they are associated with cancer and other health impacts.
We must ensure that trade agreements are fair, transparent and don’t put the interests of multinational corporations above our right to a safe and healthy food supply.