For Third Straight Month, FDA Sets Record Low for Refusals of Imported Seafood

This morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published data reporting that there were 37 total seafood entry line refusals in July, of which three (8.1%) were of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics.

The small number of total seafood entry lines refused in July (37) continues, for the third straight month, an unprecedented low in the agency’s history of oversight of imported seafood. Over the previous eighteen years (2002-2019), the FDA has refused an average of roughly 174 seafood entry in the month of July. The 37 seafood entry line refusals reported last month represents a drop of 79 percent below this historic average. The chart below sets out the total number of seafood entry lines refused by the FDA in the month of July for each of the last nineteen years.
Over the last three months, the decline in FDA refusals of seafood entry lines has been staggering. Between 2002 and 2019, the FDA averaged 486 entry line refusals in the three-month period running from May to July. This year the FDA has refused just 101 seafood entry lines over the past three months – a figure that is far less than half the lowest total of entry lines ever previously reported by the FDA over those three months.
This remarkable decline in overall seafood entry line refusals implies a massive reduction in the FDA’s oversight activities regarding imported seafood at our ports of entry.
The FDA has reported a total of eighteen refusals of shrimp entry lines for reasons related to banned antibiotics through the first seven months of 2020.
The shrimp entry lines refused in July were for shipments from China and Thailand:
  • Heze Jianuojia Pet Products Co., Ltd. (China), a company that is not green listed on Import Alert 16-131 (“Detention Without Physical Examination of Aquacultured, Shrimp, Dace, and Eel from China – Presence of New Animal Drugs and/or Unsafe Food Additives”), had two entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues and an unsafe additive by the Division of Northern Border Imports on July 7, 2020; and
  • Phatthana Frozen Food Co., Ltd. (Thailand), a company that is not currently listed on Import Alert 16-124 (“Detention Without Physical Examination of Aquaculture Seafood Products Due to Unapproved Drugs”), Import Alert 16-127 (“Detention Without Physical Examination of Crustaceans Due to Chloramphenicol”), or Import Alert 16-129 (“Detention Without Physical Examination of Seafood Products Due to Nitrofurans”), had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with nitrofurans by the Division of Southwest Imports on July 9, 2020.
The refusal of an entry line of shrimp from Thailand for a banned antibiotic is the first such refusal since May of 2017.

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