Bloomberg Businessweek has published an investigative report detailing how Chinese shrimp contaminated by antibiotics was routed through Malaysia, falsely claimed to be a product of Malaysia and then imported into the U.S.
The article documents the abuse of antibiotics in raising both terrestrial and aquatic livestock in China, as well as the public health threat posed by the further spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
By British government estimates, about 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections worldwide, states the article. If trends continue, that number is expected to soar to 10 million a year globally by 2050, more people than currently die from cancer.
The story additionally describes how, in response to efforts to counteract transshipment of Chinese shrimp through Malaysia, new transshipment channels may have open up to facilitate the importation of cheap Chinese shrimp into the U.S. market under false pretenses. Other countries involved include Equador.
John Williams, the Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance in the U.S. is quoted in the story discussing the challenges faced by federal enforcement agencies in trying to stop fraudulent shrimp import trade. He says, we have seen significant shifts in trade patterns indicating new routes and methods for getting bad shrimp into the U.S. market. “As long as there are distributors, retailers and restaurants that, provided that the price is low, do not know and do not care where their shrimp is coming from, we expect to see shrimp-trade fraud.”
Critics of increased inspection say it would cause gridlock at U.S. ports, states the article.
The Bloomberg Businessweek report is available here.