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FDA beefs up regulation of imported seafood after Cassidy inquiry

From Ripon Advance News Service

After U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) questioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s  (FDA) oversight of imported seafood in August, in response to studies indicating high amounts of bacteria or antibiotic residue in imported seafood, the FDA responded on Tuesday

The FDA said it has implemented policies to improve safety, including screening 100 percent of seafood imports prior to the products entering the country, as well as inspecting foreign processing facilities.

“One study was completed in 2012 by a Louisiana State University student as a master of science thesis,” Cassidy said in a letter to the FDA. “In her study, she found that 92 percent of imported, farm-raised shrimp samples tested positive for at least one drug that is banned for use in food-producing animals in the U.S.

Cassidy also cited a report released in April by Consumer Reports, which found shrimp tested for bacteria and drug residue as a whole was very high.

“In one section of the study, 16 percent of cooked, ready-to-eat shrimp was found to have several bacteria, including vibrio and E. coli,” Cassidy said. “Since over 90 percent of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is imported, the safety measures prior to domestic consumption must be of all-time importance.”

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