Southern Shrimp Alliance

Antibiotic-Contaminated Shrimp Rejections Make Up Nearly One-Quarter of the FDA’s Seafood Entry Line Refusals in September

October 4th, 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released information regarding import refusals for September through September 22, 2017.  Over the first three weeks of September, the FDA reports that 17 of 76 (22.4%) total seafood entry line refusals were of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics.  The FDA also issued public notice of additional seafood entry line refusals in the month of August, including the identification of two more entry lines of Vietnamese shrimp refused for reasons related to banned antibiotics.
Through the first three quarters of 2017, the FDA has reported refusing 67 entry lines of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics, substantially below the refusal levels reported in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The three shrimp entry lines refused by the FDA for banned antibiotics in August were from China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam and were reported by three different FDA import divisions:
  • Yantai Wei-Cheng Food Co., Ltd. (China), a company that has not been exempted from Import Alert 16-131, had fourteen entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of West Coast Imports on September 7, 2017;
  • Minh Phu Seafood Corporation (Vietnam), a company that was added to Import Alert 16-124 for ciprofloxacin in its shrimp on September 14, 2017, had two entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Northeast Imports on September 7, 2017; and
  • Tuta Corporation (Venezuela), a company that is not currently listed on Import Alert 16-124, Import Alert 16-127, or Import Alert 16-129, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Southeast Imports on September 20, 2017.
The FDA’s reference to Tuta Corporation is the first reported refusal of shrimp from Venezuela for reasons related to banned antibiotics since June of 2007.  However, the drug residue testing information released to the Southern Shrimp Alliance by the FDA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request indicates that between fiscal years 2010 and 2012, the agency tested 31 samples of Venezuelan shrimp and found violative drug residues in 7 of them, a detection rate of 22.6 percent.  Six of the seven detections were for fluoroquinolones.   Yet there are no reported entry line refusals of shrimp shipped from Venezuela for reasons related to banned antibiotics during that period.  And despite the high detection rate, only 30 samples of Venezuelan shrimp appear to have been tested over the next four fiscal years (FY2013-FY2016), with no samples of Venezuelan shrimp tested at all in FY2015.  Over half of the samples taken in that four year period (18 of the 30) were tested for drug residues that had not been previously detected in Venezuelan shrimp (chloramphenicol (9); nitrofurans (8); dyes (1)).  In sum, a high rate of detection of fluoroquinolones in Venezuelan shrimp does not appear to have resulted in increased scrutiny by the FDA and there appears to have been no public notification that the agency had made such a finding.
The two additional shrimp entry lines refused by the FDA for banned antibiotics in August were from Vietnam:
  • Ca Mau Seafood Processing & Service Joint Stock (Vietnam), a company that was added to Import Alert 16-124 for enrofloxacin in its shrimp on December 8, 2016 and, separately, for sulfamethizole in its shrimp on February 28, 2017, had two entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Northeast Imports on August 31, 2017.
However, the FDA’s updated reporting for the month of August omits reference to another shrimp entry line from Ca Mau Seafood Processing & Service Joint Stock (Vietnam), entry line number 991-0228945-3, that had been reported as refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Northeast Imports on August 8, 2017.  Further, the FDA’s revised reporting additionally omits reference to a shrimp entry line for Manwill Trading Company (Hong Kong), entry line number EE3-1319155-7, that had been reported as refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues by the Division of Northeast Imports on August 14, 2017.  Although these two entry lines no longer appear on the FDA’s drop-down box results of seafood entry line refusals for August, they remain listed in the excel spreadsheet database of FDA entry line refusals available for download from the agency’s website.