USDA Procurement Program
Since 2003, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has spent nearly $155 million procuring seafood products for government programs like the school lunch program. The USDA’s programs are intended, in part, to assist domestic production of seafood. However, the single largest beneficiary of the government’s purchases is an American subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Products PCL, one of the largest exporters of Thai shrimp. Nearly 60% of the money spent on fish purchases, such as tuna, salmon and catfish, go to this Thai subsidiary while no U.S. shrimp fishermen benefit from the program. The SSA has been working with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service to have shrimp included in the commodity purchase program.