US FDA refuses more shrimp imports, including line from Choice Canning, which denies involvement

Frozen shrimp
Frozen shrimp | Photo courtesy of Yuliasis/Shutterstock
4 Min

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refused 89 seafood imports in April, including 15 due to banned antibiotics found in shrimp shipments.

The agency has already refused more than half of the total entry lines of shrimp refused for banned antibiotics during all of last year, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance, a trade group supporting the U.S. domestic shrimp sector.

The FDA refused three lines it said originated from Choice Canning Company Unit II, a division of Choice Trading Corp. in India, which was named in a a 20 March Outlaw Ocean Project report as allegedly using forced labor practices and knowingly shipping antibiotic-tainted shrimp to the U.S. In a subsequent interview with SeafoodSource, Choice Canning Vice President of Sales and Procurement Jacob Jose denied the allegations.

In a statement issued to SeafoodSource, a Choice Canning spokesperson also denied the three lines refused by the FDA on 4 April were shipped by the company.

Choice Canning previously leased the facility in Andhra Pradesh, India, linked to the shrimp shipment but had ceased operating there prior to the shipment occurring, according to the spokesperson, who requested anonymity. The spokesperson provided documentation showing the owner of the building gave Choice’s FDA food facility registration to another shrimp exporter – Gandavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India-based Alpha Marine – which took over the facility and subsequently shipped the refused shrimp, the spokesperson said. 

The Southern Shrimp Alliance said it obtained information via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showing that between 2002 and 2023, the FDA inspected 21 Choice Canning shrimp shipments for antibiotics, amounting to fewer than one inspection per year.

“The example of Choice Canning once again highlights the difficulty faced by the FDA in preventing antibiotic-contaminated imported seafood from reaching U.S. consumers at the extremely low levels of testing currently conducted by the agency,” it said.

Of the 15 shrimp imports refused for containing banned antibiotics by the FDA in April, 10 originated from Rushan City, Shandong, China-based Shandong Tongxing Foodstuffs Co., which has 3-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for its processing plant. Three other exporters –  Bhimavaram, Andhra Pradesh, India-based Kader Exports Private Limited, Unit 5; Haridamada, India-based B-One Business House Pvt. Ltd.; and Choice Canning – also have BAP certification.

The addition of the Indian shrimp-processing plant Kader Exports Private Limited, Unit 5 to Import Alert 16-129 comes after another Indian shrimp-processing plant associated with Kader Exports – Kader Exports Private Limited, Unit 04 – was added to both Import Alerts 16-124 and 16-129 in January 2024. The company was also forced to recall frozen shrimp products in 2020 due to potential salmonella contamination.

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