1 million pounds of shrimp, eel, and catfish somehow slipped past the FDA’s ban on Chinese seafood. All seafood covered by the ban arrives at U.S. ports under an import alert, which ostensibly prevents the fish from leaving until private testing proves the absence of banned antibiotics and drugs. Chinese importers, resorting to tricks possibly gleaned from Wile E. Coyote, evade the FDA by shipping their contraband under the names and addresses of companies unaffected by the import alert. From the AP:
The FDA is detaining all farm-raised catfish, basa, shrimp, dace, and eel from China over concerns that the fish may be on drugs. Tests since last October repeatedly revealed the presence nitrofuran, malachite green, and gentian violet – antibiotics that are not approved for human consumption in the United States. Though no general recall has been issued, the “FDA is concerned about long term exposure as well as the possible development of antibiotic resistance.” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei responded in classic form, saying:
Alabama and Mississippi have banned Chinese catfish after finding them pumped full of fluoroquinolones, an antibiotic banned by the FDA for use in animals that people eat.
Fluoroquinolone was reportedly banned by the FDA in 1997, but Florida food safety experts officials told CBS-4′s Al Sunshine that it is not an imminent threat to public health and it’s more of an issue of keeping unneeded antibiotics out of the human food supply.