According to the report, FDA has not previously been very responsive to consumer or industry complaints about mislabeling. One consumer complained about frozen shrimp labeled as a product of Mexico that had a second label underneath indicating it was a product of Thailand, a country subject to antidumping duties. FDA took no action according to the GAO.
"The U.S. cannot win the battle on food safety without addressing economic fraud such as mislabeling and transshipment," states Williams. "These schemes are only possible because our laws permit anyone to export shrimp products to the United States and anyone to import shrimp into our country. There is no reason why U.S. laws regulating the importation of shrimp should be significantly different from those governing imports of meat, poultry, and eggs."
FDA is working with Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security to target commodities that pose health and safety risks through Operation Guardian, which is an enforcement initiative to deal with imported substandard, tainted, and counterfeit products. Operation Guardian's efforts have led to seizures of such commodities as pharmaceuticals, steel components, honey, shrimp, and toys. SSA will continue to work with these agencies to identify unlawful evasion of U.S. laws.
SSA is an alliance of the U.S. warmwater wild shrimp fishery from eight states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. For more information on the SSA, please visit www.shrimpalliance.com.
A copy of the GAO report can be found at: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0925
|SOURCE Southern Shrimp Alliance|
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