It is undeniable that Vietnamese catfish destined for the United States are being raised in river pens where run-off from agriculture, factory waste and human/livestock-generated sewage is dumped. (For more, see Feed costs, imports squeeze catfish producers and Eyes on Vietnamese catfish farming

Despite that unsavory history, cheap Asian product continues to reach U.S. groceries and restaurants uninspected.

This is, of course, to the great detriment of the U.S. catfish industry, which must adhere to rules governing the use of antibiotics, contaminants and cleanliness. Not only are U.S. producers forced to incur greater costs than their foreign competitors, they have also been forced to watch their domestic market share shrink. The predictable result: since 2001, catfish acres in the Mississippi delta have decreased 43 percent, going from 113,000 acres to 64,000 acres in 2010.

For more, see U.S. catfish farmers push for USDA inspections

It should be noted that while the Obama administration has been willfully idle on the issue, it inherited the situation. The battle over inspections began years ago and – pushed by U.S. catfish producers and the Mid-South delegation -- culminated in the 2008 farm bill, which called for inspections to be taken from the ineffective FDA and given to the USDA. As it already has more robust inspection regimes set up for beef and pork, Congress instructed the USDA to do the same for aquaculture.

This was mandated to take place a mere 180 days after the bill passed. To the joy of businessmen and lobbyists willing to sell out the health of U.S. consumers, that deadline has been ignored.