FDA shrimp inspection rejections continue precipitous decline
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on pace to reject the fewest entry lines of shrimp imports because of banned antibiotics in 14 years, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance, which tracks historical data for the industry.
Through October, the FDA has rejected just 27 entry lines for antibiotics, less than half the number refused for all of 2019. Barring a sharp uptick in the final two months, 2020 will be the third-lowest year for rejections since 2002. In 2006, agency inspectors refused 26 entry lines and just seven in 2002.
The SSA notes that its not just antibiotic rejections that have tapered off severely. Between May and October, the FDA refused only 193 line entries of shrimp. That’s down from 565 for the same time period last year, which itself was the lowest total since 2002.
In October, FDA agents refused just 23 entry lines. Three of those were for antibiotics. By comparison, the SSA on average had previously averaged 161 entry line objections in October.
The agency also revised its number for September, adjusting the number of rejections from 24 to 35, with one of the 11 new cases tied to antibiotics.
Of the four lines rejected for antibiotics, one came from China and three came from India.
The October report marks the sixth straight month where the FDA has set a new low for rejecting shrimp imports, the SSA said in a statement.
“Over the last six months, the decline in FDA refusals of seafood entry lines has been incredible,” the industry group said in its release. “Between 2002 and 2019, the FDA averaged 809 entry line refusals in the half-year period running from May to October. This year the FDA has refused just 159 seafood entry lines over the past five months; an amount representing a staggering 80 percent decline from the prior 18-year historical average.”
Photo courtesy of U.S. Food and Drug Administration