FDA Puts Shrimp, Prawn Shipments from Malaysia on Alert due to Illegal Drug Residues

FDA Puts Shrimp, Prawn Shipments from Malaysia on Alert due to Illegal Drug Residues
Image: Pixabay
April 18, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that its district offices can detain imports of shrimp and prawns from Malaysia after continuous testing found that the seafood was contaminated with an illegal drug residue.

About one-third of the imports tested in 2015 were positive for nitrofurans or chloramphenicol, animal drugs that are not generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for either animal or human consumption. Animals or seafood that contain these drug residues are not allowed to be sold in the U.S.

Malaysia banned both drugs for use in seafood farms, but FDA testing continues to find the drug in an increasing number of shipments. Between October 2014 and September 2015, 32 percent of about 140 samples of shrimp and prawns contained residues.

Malaysian companies processing or shipping shrimp and prawn are now on Import Alert.

Shipments from these companies may be detailed at the port of entry and importers would be required to submit evidence, like test results, showing that the seafood is free of illegal drug residents.

The FDA is requesting that the Malaysian government investigate the cause of the problem and develop a plan to prevent continued exports.