Southern Shrimp Alliance Asks for Broad Support of Bipartisan Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act

What happens when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tests imported shrimp and finds that it has been contaminated with veterinary drugs or harmful pathogens like salmonella or listeria? Or when the FDA inspects containers and finds shrimp that are spoiled or filthy?

As American shrimpers are all too aware, although this shrimp is refused entry into the United States, the importer is given the option of either destroying the shrimp or exporting it within 90 days of refusal. 

In its investigations of fraudulent shrimp trade, the Southern Shrimp Alliance has documented how containers of shrimp that had been refused entry into the United States were re-exported and then shipped back to the United States. While both the FDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have taken significant steps to combat port shopping of refused merchandise, the risk of contaminated seafood still reaching American consumers even after it had been found violative remains.

Today, Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Troy A. Carter (D-LA) introduced the Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act. The legislation provides the FDA with authority to destroy imported products that pose a significant public health concern, removing the requirement that an importer be provided the option of re-export of the refused merchandise.

In explaining the need for the bill, Rep. Higgins observed that: “Currently, billions of pounds of un-inspected foreign seafood continue to enter the country, causing major health concerns. . . . This legislation provides the FDA with the authority to destroy illegal seafood imports and ensure they do not reach American markets.”

Rep. Carter added: “By granting the FDA the necessary authority to destroy food products that fail to meet our stringent health and safety standards, we are closing a dangerous loophole that has allowed contaminated seafood to enter our markets. This bill protects consumers from potential health risks and upholds the integrity of our food supply chain, while supporting Louisiana fishermen and seafood processors.”

The U.S. shrimp industry has long advocated for reform of U.S. law to prohibit hazardous seafood from being re-introduced into international trade. The Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act substantially improves existing law by providing the FDA with the authority needed to protect public health.

“The Southern Shrimp Alliance strongly supports common sense legislative proposals like the bipartisan Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act,” said John Williams, the Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “Representatives Higgins and Carter have introduced a bill that is long overdue. The entire U.S. shrimp industry is grateful for their leadership and we call on all of our elected representatives to support this legislation.”

Review the Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act here:

Read press release from Rep. Higgins, “Higgins, Carter Introduce Legislation to Combat Contaminated Foreign Seafood,” here:

Learn more about the FDA’s current treatment of imports refused entry into the United States here:

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