Southern Shrimp Alliance Releases Databases Documenting Antibiotic-Contaminated Shrimp Import Rejections in the European Union, Japan, and the United States

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By Milthon Lujan

USA.- The Southern Shrimp Alliance has compiled databases for all shrimp products refused entry by enforcement agencies in the United States, European Union, and Japan due to the presence of banned antibiotics and other antimicrobials. The databases are of information obtained directly from the enforcement agencies’ public disclosures. Users can sort and search the databases, which are compiled in Excel format. The data and dates available vary by the information made available by each enforcement agency.

These database compilations are provided by the Southern Shrimp Alliance to enhance the ability of consumers, suppliers, restaurants, and retailers to evaluate the risk of exposure to antibiotic-contaminated shrimp. As these data show, antibiotic use in shrimp aquaculture is limited to a small number of countries and failures to detect and prevent antibiotic-contaminated shrimp from being marketed can be attributed to a limited number of shrimp packers and exporters.

As the charts demonstrate, over the last six years, RASFF notifications regarding shrimp contaminated by antibiotics have been dominated by imports sourced from India and Vietnam. Over the same time period, the vast majority of imported shrimp rejections in Japan because of the presence of banned antibiotics have been of products sourced from Vietnam and India. And, for the United States, other than the substantial entry lines of Malaysian shrimp refused while that country acted as a conduit for transshipped Chinese shrimp, the second and third largest sources of refusals were India and Vietnam.

Nevertheless, despite the consistency of reporting across jurisdictions regarding the risk presented by sourcing from these two countries, there appears to be little tangible evidence of meaningful actions taken to address the continued use of antibiotics in shrimp aquaculture in India and Vietnam. Instead, recent reports from these countries indicate that shrimp exporters claim that efforts to prevent the importation of contaminated shrimp are disguised protectionist measures. The data made available by the Southern Shrimp Alliance establishes that there is no basis for such claims. Instead, refusal data from the European Union, Japan, and the United States demonstrate that actions taken to counter the presence of banned antibiotics and antimicrobials in shrimp imports has been limited only to those countries that have declined to eliminate the use of these drugs in their aquaculture. Notably, major shrimp producing countries such as Ecuador, Indonesia, and Thailand are largely unaffected by import refusals.

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The data released by the Southern Shrimp Alliance also belie claims that refusals result from regulator’s “chase of zero.” Both the European Union and Japan report the type of antimicrobial identified as being present in the imported shrimp and the amount of that compound that was detected.

“Antibiotics have no place in shrimp aquaculture. The risks presented, in terms of consumers, in terms of the spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens, far exceeds any benefit gained from unfettered access to cheap shrimp,” noted John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “The information and database tools we have made available clearly show that this problem can be effectively addressed and eliminated. Unfortunately, if importers and purchasers do not demand more from their suppliers, we as shrimp consumers are complicit in the continued abuse of antibiotics in shrimp farming.”

Source: Southern Shrimp Alliance

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