A bill that includes a provision to ease federal inspections of sea urchins exported from Maine has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.

Seafood processors buy urchins harvested in Maine and Canada and process them in Maine. Almost all of them are then sold to markets in Asia, where they are used in food such as sushi.

The urchins are inspected by federal authorities when they come into the state and are then inspected again before they are exported. Maine Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin say their bill would end inspections prior to exportation, which they described as repetitive.

The bill passed the House on Tuesday and now heads to the Senate.

Pingree, a Democrat, and Poliquin, a Republican, are Maine’s only members of the House.

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