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NOAA Fisheries Fish News, June 29, 2007

National NOAA Fisheries Director Issues Statement About FDA's Action to Detain Certain Farm-Raised Imported Seafood from China

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an import control on farm-raised catfish, basa, shrimp, dace, and eel from China . All shipments of these products from China will be detained at the border until importers can prove they are free of antimicrobials (nitrofuran, malachite green, gentian violet, and fluoroquinolone) that are not approved for use in the United States.

NOAA Fisheries Service supports this action by the FDA to safeguard the health and well-being of American seafood consumers. Although the FDA says that levels of these drug residues found in seafood are very low and do not pose an immediate health risk, the United States has a zero tolerance and has taken this action to ensure the long-term safety of seafood. Because there is no imminent health threat, the FDA is not seeking a recall or advising consumers to destroy farm-raised seafood from China they have already purchased.

NOAA Fisheries Service would like to remind the American public that science has shown seafood to provide tremendous health benefits. Today's action by the FDA should be seen as a public safeguard measure and in no way should prompt people to stop eating seafood. Americans love our seafood as evidenced by new figures which show that we increased our consumption in 2006 from 16.2 pounds per person to 16.5 pounds per person.

Concern about the quality of farmed seafood imports further supports the need for expanded aquaculture in the United States. We need to be more self-sufficient in producing safe and healthy seafood here at home.

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