Bipartisan group fights deceptive labeling of imported crab meat

congressU.S. Sens.  Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA-1) urged the Administration to include fraudulent labeling of crab meat in its efforts to combat fishing and seafood fraud. Some seafood processors are deceptively labeling foreign crab meat as a “product of the United States” by importing foreign crab meat and repacking it in domestic facilities, misleading consumers as to its origin.

“Importing foreign crab meat, simply repacking in the United States, and labeling it made in the USA is dishonest and threatens the livelihood of thousands of Virginia watermen,” Senator Warner said. “The seafood industry is one of Virginia’s oldest and largest industries, with an economic impact of over half a billion dollars a year, and it is critical that we not allow this deceptive tactic continue.”

“Consumers deserve to know that Chesapeake Bay products are really from the Chesapeake Bay and are not foreign imports skirting seafood fraud laws,” said Senator Kaine. “I look forward to being briefed on actions underway to combat seafood fraud and safeguard the livelihoods of Virginia watermen.”

“Maryland’s seafood industry is critical for jobs on the Eastern Shore and our way of life,” Senator Mikulski said. “When families read the crab meat they’re consuming is the product of the United States, they expect it to be. We must end the practice of dangerous and deceptive labeling of imported crab meat that puts in jeopardy the livelihoods of Maryland’s watermen.”

Virginia watermen and seafood processors who fish the Chesapeake Bay must often compete against improperly or deceptively labeled foreign crab meat,” Wittman said. “This unfair practice of mislabeling imported crab threatens the sustainability of Virginia’s commercial watermen and seafood industry. The Administration should use all the existing tools in the toolbox to ensure a level playing field for the Chesapeake Bay’s seafood industry.”