US, EU Near Agreement on Shellfish Trade
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to allow the import of raw bivalve molluscan shellfish—including clams, mussels, oysters and scallops—harvested in the Netherlands and Spain by officially acknowledging that the EU food-safety system provides “at least the same level of sanitary protection as the United States’ system and is therefore equivalent.” The United States and the European Commission have not yet reached equivalence findings on food labeling requirements, maximum levels for food additives, maximum pesticide residue limits, drug residue limits or limits on other contaminants.
“These critical determinations are a result of a multi-year, in-depth and cooperative review of shellfish safety systems in the U.S. and the EU, in which technical experts on both sides of the Atlantic have concluded that many of the safety controls in the EU and the U.S are equivalent,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “Both governments recommended these actions after reviewing existing food safety programs, safety measures for molluscan shellfish, and on-site audits to verify each other’s systems.”
Public comments on the proposed determination will be accepted through May 23, 2018.