FDA Claims Right to Ban Malaysian Shrimp Imports Without Inspections

A third of imports from peninsular Malaysia contained residues of banned antibiotics

BILOXI, Miss., April 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an “Import Alert” for farmed shrimp from Malaysia. Of Malaysian shrimp sampled, 32 percent contained illegal and unsafe amounts of antibiotics, including one that has been shown to cause blood disorders and leukemia.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/03bb3834-0cb4-4a24-a962-3a1714fd73d0

Foreign aquaculture operations use antibiotics to treat shrimp’s bacterial infections, which are rampant due to crowded and unsanitary growing conditions. Chloramphenicol, an antibiotic reserved for use treating drug-resistant strains of plague and typhoid fever, is one of the main culprits in detained Malaysian shrimp.

Dr. David Veal, Executive Director of the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), has said, “This is even more evidence that American restaurants, retailers and consumers should be paying attention to the labels on the shrimp they’re buying. When buying American shrimp, consumers can always be confident that Wild American shrimp products meet or exceed the highest standards, which is not the same case with imports.”

The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of any food imported from foreign countries. In this case, so much shrimp from peninsular Malaysia has been unfit for consumption that the FDA took extreme measures to keep American consumers safe.

Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, with an average of four pounds eaten per person. 90 percent of those pounds will be from imported shrimp.

An Import Alert means shipments are guilty until proven innocent, and FDA staff can “detain without physical examination,” or refuse to release the shrimp for sale, until the country exporting it can prove beyond a doubt that the product is safe. In 2015, Malaysia exported 17 million pounds of shrimp to the United States.

About the American Shrimp Processors Association: The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), based in Biloxi, Mississippi, was formed in 1964 to represent and promote the interests of the domestic, U.S. wild-caught, warm water shrimp processing industry along the Gulf and South Atlantic with members from Texas to North Carolina. We are the collective voice of the industry, and our focus is to promote the interests of shrimp processors, other segments of the U.S. domestic wild-caught warm water shrimp industry and the general public. More information is available at http://www.americanshrimp.com.



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