Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Import Alert 16-136, “Detention without Physical Examination of Aquacultured Shrimp and Prawns from Peninsular Malaysia Due to Presence of Drug Residues from Unapproved Animal Drugs or the Presence of Unsafe Food Additives.” Import Alert 16-136 follows a massive increase in the number of shrimp entry lines refused by the FDA for reasons related to veterinary drug residues beginning in 2014.

Providing an explanation for the reason for the Import Alert, the FDA stated:

From October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015, FDA detected a significant increase in the presence of nitrofurans and chloramphenicol residues in shrimp products imported from Peninsular Malaysia. During that period, FDA sampled and tested 138 shrimp shipments from Peninsular Malaysia. Of those collected, forty-five samples (32%) tested positive for the presence of nitrofuran residues (residues of furazolidone metaboloite AOZ) and/or chloramphenicol residues. The concentrations of nitrofuran residues detected in shrimp ranged from 1.0 ppb to 23 ppb, and the concentrations of chloramphenicol residues in shrimp ranged from 0.3 ppb to 6.8 ppb.

The Import Alert is limited to Peninsular Malaysia, meaning the eleven states and two federal territories located on the Malay peninsula and does not include shrimp produced in the portions of Malaysia located on the island of Borneo. However, the FDA notes that for those seeking to import shrimp originating from non-Peninsular Malaysia, the importer of record should provide documentation declaring the source farm. “If the importer is unable to provide source farm documentation, FDA may detain the product as appearing to be sourced from Peninsular Malaysia.”

The FDA’s Import Alert also includes guidance for Malaysian processors that wish to request removal from detention without physical examination established by Import Alert 16-136, recommending that an applicant submit information to allow FDA to adequately assess whether the processor has appropriate controls and processes in place to ensure future shrimp and/or prawns from the processor will not bear or contain nitrofuran of chloramphenicol residues and will otherwise be in compliance with federal food safety laws.

Review new Import Alert 16-136 here: