Shrimp is currently the number one seafood choice for American consumers. Approximately 80% of the shrimp consumed in the United States is imported, over half of which is farmed raised. Some chemicals, such as chloramphenicol and nitrofurons, are used around the world to raise shrimp on coastal farms for exportation to the United States. Chloramphenicol is linked to human aplastic anemia, intestinal problems, and neurological reactions; while nitrofurons have been found to be carcinogenic. Both are widely used to produce shrimp, but both are also banned in the United States.
Even the House Committee on Appropriations has focused on the public health concerns surrounding imported shrimp. The recent House Report 108-584, which accompanied the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill – H.R. 4766, stated:
“The Committee continues to have serious concerns regarding seafood safety issues posed by banned antibiotic contamination in farm-raised shrimp imports. The Committee recommends that the FDA, in cooperation with any state testing programs, continue testing of farm-raised shrimp imports for chloramphenicol and other related harmful antibiotics used in the aquaculture industry and ensure that any adulterated shrimp that tests positive for chloramphenicol or other banned antibiotics will be destroyed or exported from the United States.”
Right now, the Food and Drug Administration is taking public comments on its workplan and priorities for fiscal year 2005. We need to make sure that inspecting imported shrimp is on their priority list.
A sample letter is pasted below. Comments are due by August 9th.
Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
The Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
To: Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305)
Re: Program Priorities in the CFSAN, Request for Comments.
Docket No. 1998N-0359
I am writing to provide input on the program priorities for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for fiscal year (FY) 2005. Public health concerns exist concerning imported farm raised shrimp; and therefore, I recommend that the Food and Drug Administration should prioritize inspections of imported shrimp for FY 2005.
Approximately 80 percent of the shrimp consumed in the United States is imported, over half of which is farmed raised. Some chemicals, such as chloramphenicol and nitrofurons, are used around the world to raise shrimp in coastal farms for exportation to the United States. Chloramphenicol is linked to human aplastic anemia, intestinal problems, and neurological reactions; nitrofurons have been found to be carcinogenic. As you know, these chemicals are actually banned by FDA.
Imported shrimp inspections fall under the FY 2004 workplan, and should be included in the FY 2005 workplan as well. Imported shrimp inspections uphold the FDA’s domestic health standards, as well as ensure international compliance with U.S. food safety rules. In order to guarantee that imported shrimp is safe for American consumers and that it adheres to the current FDA guidelines on chemical usage in foods, shrimp inspection should be a priority, and placed on the FDA CFSAN ” A-list” for FY 2005.
I urge the FDA to recognize its mandate of ensuring a safe food supply by prioritizing imported shrimp inspections and taking the following steps:
1. For one year, inspect 100% of shrimp imported into the United States for banned chemicals, such as chloramphenicol and nitrofurons. This will allow the FDA to better understand the extent of the problem.
2. Once the year of 100% testing is complete, the agency should devise a testing program for imported farm raised shrimp that is based on the prevalence of banned chemicals found during the total testing period.
3. If shrimp entering the U.S. is detected with residues of banned chemicals, the contaminated shrimp must be destroyed, rather than dumped back on consumers in the country of origin or used in animal feed.
Sincerely Yours,🖨️ Print post