Under the alert imposed Thursday, importers must show by independent testing that the fish has no dangerous contaminants, effectively removing the United States as a market, The New York Times reported. The species covered by the alert are shrimp, catfish, eel, basa -- which resemble catfish -- and dace, which resemble carp.
Dr. David Acheson, the assistant commissioner for food protection, said the FDA decided to act because of a long history of contamination with unapproved drugs and additives. He said long-term consumption of Chinese-raised fish might cause health problems.
The agency spent years trying to work with China, the world's leading producer of farmed fish, including one tour of Chinese fish farms, the newspaper said.
"There's been a continued pattern of violation with no signs of abatement," Acheson said.