The Consumer Reports study tested 342 samples of frozen shrimp and found harmful bacteria and illegal antibiotic residues in a small percentage.
All samples were tested for bacteria including salmonella, vibrio, staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and listeria.
“We are not surprised with these findings. The potential problems with antibiotics and health concerns found in imported shrimp are widely known in the seafood industry and government circles,” says David Veal, Ph.D., executive director of American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA).
“While the bacteria and antibiotics were not widespread throughout all samples, even a single risk for the consumer is one too many,” he says.
The report points out that Americans eat, on average, almost four pounds of shrimp per year and that shrimp have surpassed tuna in popularity.
It adds 94% of shrimp consumed in the US come from abroad.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which tested less than 1% of the shrimp imports last year, does not approve of antibiotics in shrimp farming.
The report points out that had antibiotics been found in one sample of imported shrimp, the entire shipment would have been refused entry into the US.
The report identified three key recommendations, which are consistent with ongoing positions of the American Shrimp Processors and Wild American Shrimp;
• Consumers should always be aware of public health concerns related to imported, farmed shrimp.
• The FDA needs to increase inspection at US ports and overseas shrimp farms.
• Consumers should buy responsibly caught US wild shrimp when possible.
Additionally, consumers in restaurants should insist on knowing the origin of the shrimp they consume.