Know Your Supplier (Update): FDA Adds Five More Malaysian Companies to Import Alerts for Antibiotic Contamination of Shrimp

Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) revised Import Alert 16-129 – regarding seafood products found to contain nitrofurans – to include three more listings for Malaysian companies shipping shrimp to the U.S. market.

In total, since the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s January 30th letter to the FDA regarding shrimp shipped from Malaysia, the agency has revised Import Alerts 16-129 and 16-124 – regarding farmed seafood products found to contain unapproved drugs – to add five more Malaysian companies.

 

  • Aquatech Venture Sdn. Bhd. was added to Import Alert 16-129 on February 19, 2015 for nitrofurans in shrimp shipped by the company to the U.S. market;

 

  • Seng Enterprise Seafood Supplier (1986) was added to Import Alert 16-124 on February 20, 2015 for chloramphenicol in shrimp shipped by the company to the U.S. market;

 

  • Penshrimp Sdn. Bhd. was added to Import Alert 16-129 on March 2, 2015 for nitrofurans in shrimp shipped by the company to the U.S. market;

 

  • Ria Budimas Trading (Bayan Lepas location) was added to Import Alert 16-129 on March 2, 2015 for nitrofurans in shrimp shipped by the company to the U.S. market; and

 

  • Ria Budimas Trading (Simpang Ampat location) was added to Import Alert 16-129 on March 2, 2015 for nitrofurans in shrimp shipped by the company to the U.S. market.

 

With the additions, 18 of the 23 companies listed on Import Alert 16-129 are Malaysian and there are now 8 Malaysian companies listed on Import Alert 16-124 because of chloramphenicol in shrimp.

Based on data available through bills of lading information, several of these companies only recently began shipping to the U.S. market.  Ria Budimas, for example, began shipping large quantities of shrimp to the United States in December 2014.  Malaysia government documents indicate that the company itself was only started in April 2014.  Aquatech Venture, for its part, appears to have only begun shipping to this market in September 2014.  And there are no bills of lading records that attribute any shipments to Penshrimp.

On one hand, these additions to the agency’s Import Alerts imply that U.S. importers and distributors continue to play a shell game with the federal government to bring contaminated shrimp into this market.  Whenever a company is found to have been shipping shrimp contaminated with banned antibiotics and is placed on an Import Alert, shipments are re-routed through new entities to new paper company importers in the United States.

On the other hand, the FDA appears to be quickly identifying changes in trade patterns, rapidly confirming that new Malaysian shippers are also shipping contaminated shrimp to the U.S. market.

Unfortunately, because the only consequence for importers is a refusal of entry for the merchandise, additional Malaysian shippers are likely to appear.  Shrimp refused at the border is returned to the shipper and, in these circumstances, may be re-shipped to the U.S. market under different packaging fraudulently attributed to different companies.

 

The FDA’s consistent, alarming findings regarding shrimp shipped from Malaysia require a greater response.  Absent additional action, such as a country-wide Import Alert on shrimp shipments, the conduits of contaminated shrimp to the U.S. market will continue to operate.

 

Read more about the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s January 30, 2015 letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration here:  http://www.shrimpalliance.com/ssa-asks-fda-to-take-additional-action-regarding-shrimp-shipped-from-malaysia/

 

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