Know Your Supplier Update: FDA Refusing Record Amounts of Shrimp Contaminated with Banned Antibiotics

For November 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has reported that the agency refused a total of 82 entry lines of seafood.  Of these refusals, 21 were for antibiotic contamination of shrimp products.

This reporting continues the recent trend of increased FDA regulatory action to counter the continued presence of banned antibiotics in imported shrimp.  As shown in the table below, through November, the FDA has already refused 171 entry lines of shrimp contaminated with antibiotics.  That amount is more than twice the average annual number of entry line refusals for shrimp contaminated with antibiotics (84) over the prior three years.


As reported previously, the most significant factor in the FDA’s increased refusals continues to be shipments of shrimp from Malaysia and Vietnam.  Combined, shipments of shrimp from these two countries accounted for 126 of the 171 refusals this year.  These results are consistent with the four year trend of increasing refusals of shrimp with banned antibiotics from both countries since 2011.


In November, ten of the twenty-one entry lines refused for antibiotic contamination were of Malaysian shrimp.  These refusals involved two of the three Malaysian shippers that saw refusals in October:  Hong San Frozen Foods Sdn. Bhd. (6) and Sunlight Seafood Sdn. Bhd. (4).

Of the remaining eleven, six were for shrimp from China (Dalian Shanhai Seafood; Zhejiang Evernew Seafood Co. Ltd.; and Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co., Ltd.), three were for shrimp from India (Devi Sea Foods Limited), and two were for shrimp from Vietnam (Bac Lieu Fisheries Co., Ltd. and Hoang Phuong Seafood Factory).

As with prior months, the November refusals were made by FDA offices across the country, with the individual reports issued by the agency identifying regional office action in Baltimore, New England (Stoneham, MA), New York, Florida (Maitland), Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the Southwest (Dallas).

In just October and November, the FDA has reported refusing a total of 56 entry lines of shrimp contaminated with antibiotics.  This is more than the total number of such refusals in all of 2012.  However, increased detection of banned antibiotics in shrimp imports is not peculiar to the U.S. market.  Other major seafood importing markets have also reported taking significant action over the last two months.

The European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASSF) reported six alerts in October and November for shrimp shipments contaminated with antibiotics:

  • October 1, 2014:  Oxytetracycline in penaeus vannamei from Vietnam (Germany)
  • October 7, 2014:  Nitrofurans in frozen shrimp (penaeus vannamei) from India (Belgium)
  • October 20, 2014:  Chloramphenicol in raw peeled shrimp from China (United Kingdom)
  • November 11, 2014:  Doxycycline in frozen shrimp from Vietnam (Germany)
  • November 14, 2014:  Oxytetracycline in frozen shrimp (penaeus vannamei ) from Vietnam (United Kingdom)
  • November 26, 2014:  Oxytetracycline in penaeus vannamei from Vietnam (Belgium)

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare published nine detections of banned antibiotics in shrimp imports over the last two months.  All nine related to shrimp imports from either Vietnam (3) or India (6):

  • October 9, 2014:  enrofloxacin in frozen breaded shrimp from Saota Seafood Factory (Vietnam)
  • October 9, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in frozen peeled and deveined vannamei shrimp from Liberty Frozen Foods (P) Limited (India)
  • October 17, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in frozen peeled and deveined vannamei shrimp from Cherukattu Industries Marine Division (India)
  • October 22, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in frozen headless shell-on vannamei white shrimp from Sprint Exports Pvt. Ltd. (India)
  • October 24, 2014:  enrofloxacin in frozen vannamei shrimp, peeled and deveined from Vin Tin Tanh Co., Ltd. (Vietnam)
  • November 4, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in frozen peeled shrimp from Danang Seaproducts Import Export Corporation (Vietnam)
  • November 11, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in vannamei peeled and deveined individually quick frozen shrimp from R F Exports (India)
  • November 12, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in vannamei shrimp from (shipper) Febin Marine Foods (India)
  • December 2, 2014:  furazolidone (nitrofurans) in vannamei peeled and deveined individually quick frozen shrimp from R F Exports (India)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency added three more seafood exporters to its Mandatory Inspection Lists for banned antibiotics over the last two months:  the Vietnamese companies Trong Nhan Seafood Company Ltd. (October 3, 2014) and Hasuvimex, Than Hoa Fishery Imp-Exp, Joint Stock Company (November 7, 2014) for fluoroquinolones and a Thai company, The Union Frozen Products Co. Ltd. (December 3, 2014), for amphenicols.

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