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FDA largely lenient on Asian seafood imports

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration responded to jitters over Chinese imports recently by banning some of that country's seafood because of contaminants. However, the agency has failed to apply the same standard to seafood supplied from other large exporters that use the same chemicals and fish-farming techniques.

Imports from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, for instance, have continued apace, even though fish-farming techniques in those countries are similar to those cited by the FDA when it issued an import alert in June targeting Chinese fish.

"This is not just a China problem," said Bradford Ward, a Washington attorney who represents the Southern Shrimp Alliance, a group of US shrimp producers.
"Why are other countries trading a lot, going ahead with shrimp imports and not attracting FDA attention?"

While FDA regulators focus on China, Vietnam, in particular, has been cited by other countries for the use of antibiotics and other chemicals in its fish-farming ponds - the same substances that were cited by the FDA in its 'import alert' regarding certain Chinese seafood, such as shrimp and catfish. Japan and the European Union have recently raised concerns about the use of banned antibiotics in Vietnamese fish farms.

Source: Baltimoresun