Charges framed against four Bangladeshis for importing banned mustache fish to USA

BanglaPress Desk
March 5, 2021

Staff Reporter: A New York court has indicted four Bangladeshis on charges of importing and selling banned mustache-scales free fish imported from Bangladesh and Myanmar to the United States. In July 2019, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a subsidiary of the United States Department of Agriculture, ordered the removal of 76,000 pounds of imported mustache-scales free boal, pabda, magur and shing fish from the New York market. Disobeying this instruction, some traders were importing and selling such fish in various ways. The court framed the charges against four Bangladeshis in a case filed by FSIS.
The allegation was made on February 19 against four officials of Asia Food Distribution, a Bangladeshi-owned fish importer. They are Mahmud Chowdhury, Belayet Hossain, Shakil Ahmed and Firoz Ahmed.
Since 2014, Asia Food Distribution Company has been importing fish from Bangladesh and Myanmar and supplying it to wholesalers in the US market.
It is learned that the sale of catfish has been banned in the market of this country since 2017. Studies have shown that eating these fish can harm the human body. That is why the fish have been banned. But the Asia Food Authority violated the law while importing fish consignments and imported catfish and other fish with long mustaches in front of the fish.
New York USDA and FDA authorities recently conducted raids and recovered large quantities of banned fish from grocery stores and warehouses. When a case was filed against the Asia Food Authority in this incident, a charge was framed in the court on the basis of the complaint. According to US law, the defendants could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
In July 2019, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a subsidiary of the United States Department of Agriculture, ordered the removal of 76,000 pounds of banned fish from the New York market. These fish were sold in New York and surrounding states.
Premium Foods had been supplying 76,000 pounds of frozen fish imported from Bangladesh-Myanmar under the Shahjalal brand name to New York and its environs with false information. On July 29, the New York Post published a news about the ban on the import of Shahjalal brand frozen fish, which caused a storm of criticism among the expatriates.
The Department of Food Safety of the Department of Agriculture has banned catfish fish, such as boal, pabda, ayr, batashi, and magur, from the U.S. market.
The United States has ordered the withdrawal of a large number of catfish imported from Bangladesh. According to the decision of the country’s Food Security Agency (FSIS), the decision will be effective in the case of 40,000 pounds of fish imported from Bangladesh and Myanmar. However, most of it was bought from Bangladesh. From July to October of that month, the FSIS had a negative decision on a total of more than one lakh 71 thousand pounds of this species of fish.
According to FSIS, Bangladesh and Myanmar do not have permission to export catfish or catfish. The fish were imported from these two countries between March 26, 2018 and March 8, 2019. These fish were later shipped for retail sale to the grocery stores of expatriate Bangladeshis in New York, including Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and New Jersey.
However, the US Department of Agricultural Food Safety and Inspection Services has been attacking various grocery stores for some time to stop the sale of these banned fish. As a result, the owners of grocery stores who have bought Shahjalal brand fish from Premium Food USA have also suffered financially as they have not been able to sell the fish.
In Bangladesh and Myanmar, catfish are infected with a type of bacteria during cultivation. If frozen, these fish are very harmful to the human body. Since there is no opportunity to import fish from Bangladesh and Myanmar without frozen, the USDA banned the import of these fish in early 2018.