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CITAC Shrimp Task Force

Imported Shrimp: A Healthy and Safe Food

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has established a voluntary Seafood Inspection Program to ensure that seafood imports meet stringent quality standards as outlined by the FDA under the Seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Program (HACCP) Regulatory Requirements. The DOC provides U.S. importers with assistance prior to export of a seafood product to the United States by conducting sanitary and hazard reduction training and providing assistance in writing and verifying HACCP requirements; at the point of entry by inspecting and certifying products; and, at the point of retail distribution by assisting stores in establishing and maintaining a retail HACCP program.

It has been alleged that shrimp imports from China, Thailand, and Vietnam pose a health risk because they contain the antibiotic chloramphenicol. This is simply not true. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 adopted a policy for detecting chloramphenicol in shrimp, conforming to the strict standards first set by the European Union.

Also, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI), the seafood industry's trade association that includes all major shrimp importers, has a zero tolerance policy for chloramphenicol and all other antibiotics. Importers are absolutely opposed to the use of antibiotics, as are exporters. For additional information, visit NFI's website at