TARPON SPRINGS, Fla., Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- John Williams,
a shrimp fisherman and executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance,
testified today before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations of the Commerce and Energy Committee regarding import
seafood safety. Williams criticized the Food and Drug Administration's
(FDA) reliance on importers to verify food safety and recommended Congress
take legislative actions.
"On behalf of the U.S. shrimp industry, I would like to thank
Representative Charles Melancon for inviting us to share our experiences
with Congress," said Williams. "We appreciate his continued support for
equal application of food safety requirements on imported and domestic
"The FDA has failed to enforce food safety laws on imported seafood.
The FDA's approach to imported food safety is to accept unverified
representations from importers with only token inspections," explained
Concerns about the FDA's inability to assure the safety of imported
seafood have caused at least eight states to conduct their own testing
programs. Repeatedly, these states have found banned substances in the
imports they test-seafood allowed by the FDA and the private sector to
enter the U.S. market.
Since 2002, the state of Louisiana has had an Emergency Rule in place
to test imported shrimp and crawfish for chloramphenicol. It added testing
for fluoroquinolones in Chinese and Vietnamese seafood in 2007.
The impact of FDA's failures
The FDA's failure to prevent the importation of contaminated shrimp has
a number of negative effects on the U.S. market, the U.S. shrimp industry
and U.S. consumers that benefit from a diet of healthful seafood. First and
foremost, farmed-shrimp imports contaminated with banned antibiotics,
pesticides and other dangerous contaminants put the health of U.S.
consumers at serious risk according to sound medical science that is
recognized and applied worldwide.
Second, U.S. consumers are quite often unable to distinguish between
safe and unsafe shrimp in retail markets and restaurants. Their fear of
buying or being served contaminated imported shrimp depresses the overall
consumption and demand for all shrimp, including healthful, wild-caught
shrimp produced in the United States.
Finally, the FDA's lax inspection system allows volumes of low-value
contaminated shrimp into the U.S. market. These illegal shipments depress
the price for U.S. shrimp fishermen.
SSA is an alliance of the U.S. wild-caught shrimp fishery from eight
states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. For more information, please visit
SOURCE Southern Shrimp Alliance