FDA Continues to Refuse High Volumes of Imported Shrimp Entry Lines Due to Banned Antibiotics

This morning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported import entry line refusals in April 2015.  The information released by FDA detailed refusals of 169 seafood entry lines last month, of which 51 (or 30%) were for shrimp contaminated with banned antibiotics.  These data continue to show an unprecedented initiative by the agency to address the continued use of antibiotics in shrimp aquaculture.

 

Through the first four months of this year, the FDA has now refused a total of 191 entry lines of shrimp products for reasons related to banned antibiotics.  In 2015, the agency has refused an average of 48 shrimp entry lines each month for antibiotics, an amount in excess of the annual total of entry lines refused for the same reasons in each of the five years between 2002 and 2006.  As shown in the chart below, the previous single annual high for shrimp entry lines refused for reasons related to banned antibiotics occurred last year at 208.  This record high may be surpassed in May of 2015.

 

 

The increase in FDA refusals of shrimp entry lines for antibiotic contamination is occurring simultaneous to increases in shrimp import volumes and declines in the average unit values (AUVs) of these imports.  The most recent official import figures released – covering the first two months of this year – show that imports of non-breaded frozen warmwater shrimp have increased by 6.2% (amounting to over 10 million pounds) compared to the first two months of 2014.  The average unit value of these shrimp imports has fallen from $5.80 per pound in January and February 2014 to $4.86 per pound in January and February 2015.  Increased import volumes at substantially lower prices taking place at the same time as historic refusal levels of shrimp import entry lines imply that importers are taking greater risks in sourcing cheap, lower quality product in order to maximize profit margins.

 

In April, shrimp entry lines from four different countries – Malaysia, India, Vietnam, and China – were refused for reasons related to veterinary drug residues.  These refusals involved ten different companies in those four countries, with refusals occurring at ports throughout the United States:

  • Seng Enterprise Seafood Supplier (1986) (Malaysia), a company that was listed on Import Alert 16-124 on February 20, 2015 for chloramphenicol, had twenty entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the Southwest Import District;
  • Sunlight Seafood Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia), a company listed on Import Alert 16-129 for nitrofurans on September 29, 2014, had two entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with nitrofurans in the Los Angeles District;
  • Aquatech Venture Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia), a company listed on Import Alert 16-129 for nitrofurans on February 19, 2015 but not currently listed on Import Alert 16-124, had seven entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with both nitrofurans and veterinary drug residues in the Southwest Import District;
  • Lean Heng Huat Fishery (Malaysia), a company listed on Import Alert 16-129 for nitrofurans on March 10, 2015 and listed on Import Alert 16-124 for chloramphenicol on March 13, 2015, had two entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with both nitrofurans and veterinary drug residues in the Southwest Import District;
  • Ria Budimas Trading (Malaysia), a company listed on Import Alert 16-129 for nitrofurans on March 2, 2015 at two different addresses but not currently listed on Import Alert 16-124, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with nitrofurans and one entry line refused for both nitrofurans and veterinary drug residues in the Southwest Import District;
  • Coastal Corporation Ltd. (India), a company not currently listed on either Import Alert 16-124 or Import Alert 16-129, had ten entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with nitrofurans at the Los Angeles District;
  • Quoc Viet Seaproducts Processing (Vietnam), a company that has been listed on Import Alert 16-124 since March 10, 2014 for chloramphenicol,had four entry lines refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the New York District;
  • Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products Co., Ltd. (China), a company that had an exemption to Import Alert 16-131 returned to it on February 11, 2015, had one entry lines refused for breaded shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the New York District and one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the San Francisco District;
  • Fujian Yuehai Aquatic Food Limited Company (China), a company not currently exempted from Import Alert 16-131, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the Los Angeles District; and
  • Rushan Changtai Import and Export Co. Ltd. (China), a company not currently exempted from Import Alert 16-131, had one entry line refused for shrimp contaminated with veterinary drug residues in the New York District.

For the year, the FDA has reported refusing 129 entry lines of shrimp shipped from Malaysia for reasons related to veterinary drug residues, 29 entry lines of shrimp shipped from Vietnam, 23 entry lines of shrimp shipped from India, 9 entry lines of shrimp shipped from China, and 1 entry line of shrimp shipped from Indonesia.

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