FDA Adds Two Vietnamese Shrimp Exporters to Import Alert for Antibiotic Contamination

Two Vietnamese shrimp exporters have now been added to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Import Alert regarding aquaculture seafood products contaminated with unapproved drugs (Import Alert 16-124).

A previous News Alert Update reported that six shipments of Vietnamese shrimp contaminated with banned antibiotics were refused by FDA in October.  These shipments originated from two different Vietnamese seafood exporters:  Cuulong Seaproducts Company and Fimex VN.  The News Alert Update noted that findings of banned antibiotics in shrimp imports from these companies were consistent with the findings of the Japanese government as Japan rejected five shipments of shrimp from Fimex VN contaminated by enrofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone, in December 2011 and January 2012 and also rejected a shipment of shrimp from Cuulong Seaproducts Co. contaminated by enrofloxacin in December 2011.

Per the FDA’s website, Cuulong Seaproducts Company was added to the Import Alert for “enrofloxacin” on December 20, 2012, while Fimex VN was added (also for “enrofloxacin”) on December 28, 2012.

The presence of fluoroquinolones, including enrofloxacin, continues to plague Vietnamese seafood exports.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency reports rejecting shipments of seafood from seven different Vietnamese exporters for fluoroquinolones in November and December alone:

(1) Thuan Hung Fisheries Company Ltd. (THUFICO) (Dec. 28, 2012);

(2) Quoc Viet Seaproducts Processing Trading and Import-Export Co., Ltd.  (Dec. 27, 2012);

(3) Quangninh Sea Products Export Company (Nov. 28, 2012);

(4) My Phat Ltd. Co. (Nov. 26, 2012);

(5) Saota Seafood Factory (Nov. 23, 2012);

(6) Hoa Phat Seafood Import Export and Processing J.S.C. (Nov. 23, 2012); and

(7) Thuan Thien Producing Trading Limited Company (Nov. 16, 2012).

For its part, the Japanese government rejected shrimp shipments from three different Vietnamese suppliers in November and December for the presence of enrofloxacin:

(1) Fine Foods Company (FFC) (November);

(2) Vietnam Rich Beauty Food Co., Ltd. (December); and

(3) Soc Trang Seafood Joint Stock Co. (December).

The Australian government’s most recent refusal data only runs through October, but even there two aquacultured seafood shipments from Vietnam were rejected that month for the presence of fluoroquinolones:

(1) Saigon-Mekong Fishery Co. Ltd. (ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin); and

(2) Tan Than Loi Frozen Food Co. Ltd. (ciprofloxacin and norfloxacin).

The Canadian, Japanese, and Australian governments have made consistent findings regarding the prevalence of contamination of Vietnamese farmed seafood imports with fluoroquinolones.  The extent of the continuing problem of use of unapproved antibiotics is now further confirmed by the FDA’s actions.

Moreover, there may be even more troubling discoveries on the horizon.  Japan’s early warnings regarding enrofloxacin contamination in Vietnamese seafood have been further confirmed by other major seafood markets.  It is therefore of particular interest that Japan recently rejected shipments of products containing shrimp from six different Vietnamese seafood companies for the presence of chloramphenicol:

(1) Global Sea-Product Company Limited (November);

(2) Trung Son Corp. (November);

(3) Phu Cuong Jostoco Seafood Corp. (November);

(4) Hoan My Co., Ltd. (November);

(5) GN Foods Joint Stock Company (November); and

(6) Soc Trang Seafood Joint Stock Company (October).

If these refusals reflect a return to the broad use of chloramphenicol in shrimp aquaculture, then measures to address illegal antibiotic use have failed.

Read “News Alert Update:  Why is the FDA Inspecting So Little Seafood from Vietnam?”:

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