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Safety

FDA Cited For Lax Seafood Monitoring

by Britt E. Erickson
May 23, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 21

FDA should enhance its oversight of imported seafood to ensure that it does not contain residues of drugs that are not approved in the U.S., a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concludes. The report (GAO-11-286) recommends that FDA collaborate more with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to beef up international inspections, especially in countries such as China. Farmed fish make up about half of the seafood imported into the U.S. Such fish are often grown in confined aquaculture tanks and treated with antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections. FDA inspects seafood processors and importers annually, but it does not usually visit aquaculture farms to monitor for appropriate drug use. In fiscal 2009, FDA tested only about 0.1% of all seafood imports for drug residues, according to GAO. FDA claims that it is developing a strategy to improve its import sampling program and better leverage inspection resources provided by NMFS.

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