WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) released the following statement after the House passed his amendment that increases competitiveness of Gulf Coast shrimp by preventing unsafe foreign shrimp from flooding U.S. markets:
“I’m glad the House today passed my amendment to prevent unsafe foreign shrimp from flooding U.S. markets. Currently, only a very small percentage of foreign seafood is inspected before it reaches our dinner tables. My amendment addresses this issue by prioritizing funding to increase shrimp inspections and ensuring imported foreign shrimp meets U.S. health and safety standards. Louisiana shrimpers make every effort to provide their delicious, world-class product in a safe and sustainable way, which is why I fought for this amendment to defend the integrity of U.S. shrimp proudly produced in Louisiana and the entire Gulf Coast.”
“For many years our industry has worked to move FDA into a more proactive approach to seafood inspections, in line with the Food Safety Modernization Act and numerous GAO reports,” said American Shrimp Processors Association’s (ASPA) Executive Director Dr. David Veal. “Requiring increased inspections at overseas facilities in the exporting country is a major victory for the health and safety of American consumers. As the United States responds to the COVID-19 outbreak,” Dr. Veal said, “Congressman Scalise is right to look to the food we eat and make sure it’s safe.”
Shrimp imports from countries like China and India have increased drastically in recent years. These imports often fail to meet U.S. health and safety standards as some foreign producers use illegal veterinary drugs and antibiotics. Unfortunately, a lack of inspections by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) means much of that seafood makes it into U.S. markets.
This amendment provides $6 million in funding to language Whip Scalise already secured in the bill. That language requires the FDA Commissioner to explore and, if possible, implement options regulating the export of shrimp to the United States. Those options include, but are not limited to: sampling of products prior to export; increasing foreign inspections of export facilities; increasing seafood importer inspections; and increasing surveillance inspections at overseas manufacturing sites.