6. Caroline Smith DeWaal walking down hallway ++MUTE++
7. SOUNDBITE: Caroline Smith DeWaal, Director for Food Safety, at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest:
"FDA's (Food and Drug Administration) actions today is really appropriate, but really it's better late than never. The agency has been aware of problems with imported farmed seafood from China since 2001, so it's taken them apparently six years to complete their investigation and take this important action."
8. Various exteriors of FDA building
9. SOUNDBITE: Caroline Smith DeWaal, Director for Food Safety, at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest:
"Problems with ingredients coming from China, cosmetics, toothpaste, and now seafood are really raising a lot of red flags for consumers about whether it's safe to purchase any products coming from China. It's critical that the Chinese government put in place certification programmes to show that the products guaranteed by the government are in fact safe for US consumers to buy."
Farmed seafood has now joined tyres, toothpaste and toy trains on the list of tainted and defective products from China that could be hazardous to a person's health.
US government health officials said on Thursday they were detaining three types of Chinese fish - catfish, basa and dace - as well as shrimp and eel after repeated testing turned up contamination with drugs unapproved in the United States for use in farmed seafood.
The officials said there have been no reports of illnesses nor do the products pose any immediate health risk.
They stopped short of ordering a ban on the fresh and frozen seafood.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announcement was the latest in an expanding series of problems with imported Chinese products that seemingly permeate US society.
Caroline Smith DeWaal, Director for Food Safety, at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest said the decision was long overdue.
"The agency has been aware of problems with imported farmed seafood from China since 2001, so it's taken them apparently six years to complete their investigation and take this important action," said Dewaal.
Beyond the fish, federal regulators have recently warned consumers about lead paint in toy trains, defective tires, and toothpaste made with diethylene glycol, a toxic ingredient more commonly found in antifreeze.
All the products were imported from China.
DeWaal said the problem is that consumers are not sure about whether products that are made in China are safe.
"It's critical that the Chinese government put in place certification programs to show that the products guaranteed by the government are in fact safe for US consumers to buy," she said.
China, meanwhile, insisted on Thursday that the safety of its products was "guaranteed," making a rare direct comment on spreading international fears over tainted and adulterated exports.
FDA officials said the level of the drugs in the seafood was low.
The FDA is not asking stores or consumers to toss any of the suspect seafood.
The FDA said sampling of Chinese imported fish between October and May repeatedly found traces of the antibiotics nitrofuran and fluoroquinolone, as well as the anti-fungals malachite green and gentian violet.
Of particular concern are the fluoroquinolones, a family of widely used human antibiotics that the FDA forbids in seafood in part to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to these drugs.
The best known example is ciprofloxacin, sold as Cipro, which made headlines as a treatment during the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The FDA will allow individual shipments of the five seafood species into the country if a company can show the products are free of residues of these drugs.
China is the third largest exporter of seafood to the United States, according to the FDA.
More than half of its global seafood exports are farmed. But the FDA inspects only about five percent of farmed Chinese fish, agency officials said.