The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released information regarding entry line refusals for the period running from Wednesday, June 28th through Thursday, July 27th. Although the FDA reported a total of 129 seafood entry line refusals for the month of July, none were of shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics.
As no refusals for shrimp for reasons related to banned antibiotics were reported in June either, this is the first time that the FDA has gone two months without reporting such a refusal since April and May 2006.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request made to the agency by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, the FDA has reported the number of shrimp samples collected for testing for banned antibiotics and dyes on a fiscal year basis. As shown in the chart below, the number of shrimp samples collected each year has significantly increased.
The FDA additionally reported the number of tests conducted that resulted in detection of banned antibiotics or dyes. These data confirm that a small minority of total shrimp imports are found to contain banned antibiotics. Nevertheless, the FDA’s detection rate in FY2016 – 4.2% – is significantly higher than the detection rate reported by the agency in fiscal years 2003 through 2007. Because the volume of shrimp imports into the United States is so high, if 4.2% of all shrimp imports were contaminated in FY2016, that would indicate that roughly 55.6 million pounds of shrimp entered the United States with detectable quantities of banned antibiotics between October 2015 and September 2016.