Stakeholders in the United States shrimp industry have accused their Indian counterparts of causing health and safety concerns due to surge in export of the seafood from India. American importers complain of exceedingly high traces of salmonella in shrimps from India, as compared to consignments from other countries.
India is now the largest exporter of shrimp to the US, accounting for 35 percent of the volume of all US imports of non-breaded frozen warmwater shrimp in 2017, up from six per cent in 2010. Last year, the United States imported $2.2 billion worth of Indian shrimps.
“The influx of Indian shrimp in the US market causes several health and safety concerns. Within the past few years alone, the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has reported an absurdly high number of refusals of shrimp imports from India, as traces of salmonella were much higher than shrimp imports from other countries,” said the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), a US-based body of shrimp fishers and processors.
From 2016 through August 2018, India accounted for 33 per cent by volume of all non-bred frozen warmwater shrimp imports into the United States.
Between 2016 and October 2018, India accounted for 49 per cent of the entry lines of shrimp refused by the USFDA for the presence of salmonella.
As per the association, India supplies nearly a third of the shrimp available in the United States and about half of the shrimp imports found by USFDA to be contaminated with either salmonella or banned antibiotics.
“The FDA’s continued and repeated detection of salmonella or banned antibiotics in Indian shrimp raises important questions regarding the development and spread of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) pathogens in Indian aquaculture and the possibility that Indian shrimp imports may act as a vehicle for the introduction of AMR bacteria into the United States”, the association said.
This is not for the first time any major importer of Indian shrimps is raising the concerns. The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU) has recently raised its concerns regarding Indian shrimp aquaculture. EU is the third largest market for Indian exporters.
“So far, there are has been no reports or incidents of health problems caused due to Indian shrimps. The report is completely baseless. These are all trade conspiracies. Because of the SSA, USA is levying anti-dumping duty on Indian shrimps. As the Indian products are available at lower rates at US compared to their domestic production rates, SSA is feeling the pinch”, said an Indian exporter.