FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2004
NFI: FARMED SHRIMP IS SAFE; MEETS SAME HIGH
SAFETY STANDARDS AS WILD-CAUGHT SHRIMP
Washington, DC –National Fisheries Institute (NFI) President John Connelly stated today that the safety of shrimp consumed in the U.S. -- whether farmed or wild-caught, imported or domestic -- is assured as a result of joint efforts by the U.S. government and the seafood industry, and warned that attempts to use safety issues for political advantage could harm all seafood manufacturers – domestic and foreign.
NFI is the fish and seafood industry's leading trade association, representing a range of firms from small family-owned businesses to large multinational corporations. NFI members include U.S. firms that operate fishing vessels and aquaculture facilities, buy and sell, process, pack, import, export and distribute fish and seafood, and operate retail stores and restaurants.
“From a seafood standpoint, there is no difference in terms of safety between farmed shrimp and wild-caught shrimp,” said Connelly. “Seafood, whether imported or domestic, wild caught or farm grown, is subject to the same demanding Food & Drug Administration (FDA) inspection and testing standards.”
The NFI's statement was prompted by recent allegations that imported shrimp, much of which is harvested using a technique known as aquaculture, is somehow less safe than wild-caught shrimp.
“The federal government and the seafood industry have a zero tolerance policy regarding the use of antibiotics. There are no antibiotics approved by the FDA for use with any farm-raised shrimp. The FDA increased its testing of all shrimp for chloramphenicol in 2002 and, in 2003, established equivalent test levels to the European Union. The standard now in use – testing at 0.3 parts per billion (ppb) – is among the toughest in the world, able to detect even the faintest traces of antibiotics,” stated Connelly . “ In addition, the FDA's rigorous Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point inspection system requires processors to identify food safety hazards, maintain control measures that prevent them, and require all U.S. seafood companies to verify that their products are produced in accordance with FDA requirements, wherever sourced.”
“False statements regarding farm-raised shrimp safety could potentially damage the entire shrimp industry by undermining consumer confidence in all shrimp products,” added Connelly. “Aquaculture is an important technology that enables us to help feed the world with delicious, safe, and nutritious seafood.”
NFI is a non-profit trade association representing more than 700 companies involved in all aspects of the fish and seafood industry. The Institute also acts to ensure an ample, sustainable and safe seafood supply for consumers. All NFI releases and related information can be found on NFI's web page at www.nfi.org.