GAA: ABC News report ‘sensationalized’

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is disputing the accuracy of an ABC World News report suggesting that the use of antibiotics and other substances in shrimp farming is ramping, calling the report “sensationalized.”

For the report, which aired on Friday, ABC World News collected 30 shrimp samples from a number of unnamed grocery stores; a laboratory tested the product and found residues of three banned substances — nitrofuranzone, enrofloxacin and chloramphenicol — in three of the samples, though the amount of residues detected was not revealed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a zero-tolerance policy for banned antibiotics and other substances.

But the GAA countered that the use of antibiotics “is neither a common nor accepted practice in shrimp farming,” adding that the industry is working to eliminate antibiotic use altogether. Plus, farmed shrimp can be obtained from certified sources (such as the GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices program) that provide the food-safety assurances.

“The shrimp-farming industry recognizes the use of antibiotics in food production should be avoided due to concerns about food safety and the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The technology for disease management in shrimp farming has made transformative advances,” said GAA President George Chamberlain.

According to the GAA, pathogens are increasingly managed through the use of specific pathogen-free broodstock and breeding for genetic resistance to disease. At farms, proper pond preparation, disinfection of incoming water and the application of beneficial bacteria to displace pathogens help limit diseases.

Added Chamberlain: “The GAA has an active educational program to assist farmers, regulators and policy makers in understanding the importance of health management through prevention. We hope further training will help move all aquaculturists further away from the use of unapproved chemicals.”

BAP-certified farms produce 174,500 metric tons of shrimp annually, most of which is exported to the United States, where it represents more than one-quarter of the shrimp imported by the country, according to the GAA.


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