After reporting no entry line refusals for shrimp contaminated with banned antibiotics in June and July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued notice yesterday that refusals resumed in August. The FDA released information regarding import refusals through August 25, 2017 indicating that 3 of the 172 (1.7%) total seafood entry line refusals were of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics. The FDA also issued public notice of sixty-one (61) additional seafood entry line refusals in the month of July, of which none were of shrimp contaminated with banned antibiotics.
For the year, the FDA has reported refusing a total of fifty (50) entry lines of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics, an amount well off the pace of the 248 entry line refusal average of the last three years.
This decline in reported refusals is a troubling development as it comes at a time when shrimp imports from India, Vietnam, and China – countries that continue to be associated with widespread abuse of antibiotics in shrimp aquaculture – accounted for 42.7% of all frozen non-breaded shrimp imports over the first six months of this year. Shrimp imports from these three countries have increased by 65.5 million pounds compared to the first half of 2016. Because other major shrimp-importing markets have significantly stepped up enforcement of their food safety laws, this large growth in import volumes implies that the United States has once again become the world’s dumping ground for contaminated shrimp.
The three shrimp entry lines refused by the FDA for banned antibiotics in August were from China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam and were reported by two different FDA import divisions:
- Ca Mau Seafood Processing & Service Joint Stock (Vietnam), a company that was added to Import Alert 16-124 for enrofloxacin in its shrimp on December 8, 2016 and, separately, for sulfamethizole in its shrimp on February 28, 2017, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Northeast Imports on August 8, 2017;
- Jimo Fengcheng Yinhai Aquatic Co (China), a company that has not been exempted from Import Alert 16-131, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with nitrofurans, veterinary drug residues, and an unsafe additive by the Division of West Coast Imports on August 1, 2017; and
- Manwill Trading Company (Hong Kong), a company that is not currently listed on Import Alert 16-124, Import Alert 16-127, or Import Alert 16-129, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Northeast Imports on August 14, 2017.