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Industry Is Working to Ensure Shrimp Safety

March 14, 2004

"U.S. Shrimpers Sink on Flood of Imports" (Feb. 15) fails to mention the work that the American Seafood Distributors Assn. has done to ensure that all seafood imports meet the highest safety standards.

ASDA has led the industry in establishing a zero-tolerance position on the use of unauthorized antibiotics in farmed seafood. Working in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration, our industry is developing a voluntary verification-testing program that is intended to augment the existing mandatory program of the FDA.

During the last year, the FDA has more than doubled the number of product samples being taken, and it has drastically increased the levels of detection to which it can test.

The story also fails to mention that all shrimp-producing countries have banned the use of illegal antibiotics. Furthermore, overseas laboratories, both private and government, are sampling shrimp before shipment to the U.S. market, and the FDA is sampling shipments of shrimp on arrival at U.S. ports of entry.

Though importers and domestic producing companies may argue about the economic effects of trade, we have never disagreed regarding the use of unauthorized antibiotics and are working together to protect U.S. consumers.

Wally Stevens

President, American

Seafood Distributors Assn.

Arlington, Va.

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