Issue Date: July 9, 2007
FDA Wants Tests On Chinese Seafood
FDA announced on June 28 that it is blocking all shipments of farm-raised shrimp, catfish, eel, basa (similar to catfish), and dace (similar to carp) from China until the importers prove the shipments are free of residues of drugs not approved in the U.S. FDA testing that started in 2001 has shown that a large fraction of farm-raised seafood from China contains residues of the antifungal agents malachite green, gentian violet, and nitrofurans, as well as fluoroquinolones, a class of antibiotics. None of these antimicrobials is approved for use in farm-raised U.S. seafood. Testing by FDA between October 2006 and May 2007 showed that 25% of imported Chinese seafood, or 22 of 89 samples, was contaminated with at least one of these agents. The levels of antimicrobial residues found in seafood are low and pose no immediate danger, but FDA is concerned that years of exposure could be harmful to people. The import controls will have a significant impact on the U.S. seafood market because shrimp and catfish are two of the most consumed species in the U.S., and China is the second largest supplier of shrimp to the U.S. market.
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