FDA Ban Fails To Catch 1 Million Pounds Of Chinese Seafood

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 AP reviewed 4,300 manifests of seafood shipments from China compiled by Piers Reports, a company that tracks import-export data, and found 211 shipments that arrived under import alert since last fall.

FDA officials refused to identify exactly which shipments were tested, saying they were too busy to do so.

So the AP contacted importers directly, talking to 15 companies responsible for 112 of the 211 shipments. Eleven said their products were tested; four said the FDA did not bother to stop a total of 28 shipments weighing 1.1 million pounds. Virtually all the shipments entered through ports in the Southeast, including Tampa, Fla., Miami and Savannah, Ga.

The importer with the most cases was Florida-based Tampa Bay Fisheries.

Chief executive Robbie Paterson said 23 shipments of breaded or dusted frozen shrimp delivered between October and May were not inspected. In rare cases, the FDA removes from its watch list companies that have passed five straight tests. Paterson said he assumed that was why Tampa Bay’s shipments went through.

Not so: Tampa Bay’s shrimp supplier the Fuqing City Dongyi Trading Co. was on the watch list.

Three other companies said a total of five shipments of catfish, eel or shrimp were not stopped and tested.

The FDA recently sniveled to Congress that their 450 inspectors couldn’t possibly screen the 20 million shipments of potentially contaminated food that cross our borders each year. Despite their admitted incompetence, the ban may be having an effect. U.S importers are reporting that China is starting to withhold shipments that might not meet FDA standards.

AP: Seafood From China Wasn’t Screened [AP]
(Photo: KateMonkey)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cowboys_fan says:

    Gee companies finding loopholes in laws, interesting…Sounds exactly like every american business, and government. Democracy is obviously spreading.

  2. ancientsociety says:

    THIS is the reason I’m tired of the security theater our gov’t perpetuates to make it look like they are actually do something to protect our borders.

    Think about it – if 1M Lbs. of banned seafood can make it past “inspectors”, how easy would it be to sneak 1 NBC weapon into this country?

  3. howie_in_az says:

    Is anyone else snickering at the Fuqing City Dongyi Trading Co. name?

    Additionally, Americans are doing a great job at holding their government accountable for things. “Too busy” my arse.

  4. Buran says:

    And these people are not in legal trouble for attempting to circumvent laws why?

  5. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    well, cross shrimp of my list of foods to eat.
    let’s see whats left . . .
    apples from my backyard and tomato soup from the local market.


  6. revmatty says:

    Because they are ‘contributing to the local economy’. Same reason companies get no corporate tax deals from cities and states all the time to ‘help the local economy’.

  7. qwertybot says:

    Snivelled? Really? 20,000,00/450/250 workdays a year (Mon-Fri, 50 weeks) = ~180 shipments per inspector per day. And are these inspectors supposed to do shipping inspections only? They have separate ones for domestic stuff?

  8. hustler says:

    Looks like I’m not eating sushi any time soon.

  9. andrewsmash says:

    “The FDA recently sniveled to Congress that their 450 inspectors couldn’t possibly screen the 20 million shipments of potentially contaminated food that cross our borders each year.”

    Maybe they should move some of the people who are rubber-stamping prescription drug applications over to food inspection.

  10. bohemian says:

    Was the product properly labeled as origin: China or did it show another country of origin?

    They can’t assure our food supply is even moderately safe but they darn sure will do everything in their power to prevent you from getting your meds from Canada because that is oh such a huge risk. Anyone remember the FDA announcing that buying drugs from Canada was too dangerous? How about when Homeland Insecurity was stopping mail order packages at the border and confiscating them?

  11. Buran says:

    @bohemian: If Canadian drugs are so dangerous, why aren’t the Canadians dropping dead?