Barely a month after bringing shrimp under the purview of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cracked down on Indian shrimp shipments for use of banned antibiotics.
The US is the largest market for Indian shrimp exporters and accounts for about 32 per cent of total seafood exports from the country.
"Last month (in January), the FDA refused 26 shrimp entry lines for reasons related to banned antibiotics. All 26 were of shrimps shipped from India. These (26) entry lines represented 14.9 per cent of the 175 total seafood entry lines refused in January 2019," said the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), a US-based body of shrimp fishermen and processors.
Notably, the number of rejections in the first month of the calendar year is a tad less than the 27 Indian shipments rejected by the FDA in 2017 and 2018 put together.
It is also equal to the total number of shrimp entry lines refused for reasons related to banned antibiotics in all of 2006. "The 26 shrimp entry lines refused last month is roughly half of the total shrimp entry lines refused for reasons related to banned antibiotics in all of 2018. They represent the highest total number of shrimp entry lines refused for reasons related to banned antibiotics since August 2016, when the FDA refused 35 shrimp entry lines for antibiotics, of which 24 were from India," the SSA added.
In 2017 and 2018, Indian shrimp accounted for one out of every five entry lines of shrimp refused for banned antibiotics (27 out of 108).
"The rejections may be due to the unpreparedness of Indian exporters to send the shrimp consignments to the US after the implementation of SIMP since January 1, 2019, that comes with a detailed documentation process. The US FDA may have refused the entry of shipments due to the SIMP under the pretext of use of banned antibiotics," said an Indian exporter.
SIMP mandates stringent data requirements to trace the entire supply chain of seafood from the point of harvest to the point of entry into the US.
Shrimp sourced from India accounts for more than one out of every three pounds of shrimp imported into the US.