Shrimp Industry:

Food Safety issues associated with farmed shrimp

Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP)

SIMP is a step in the direction of alleviating food safety issues with imported shrimp.  The amount of imported shrimp is so huge FDA inspectors could not possible inspect shipments.  In fact, only about 10% received any kind of check and there was no trace back to sourc of shipment.

On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. That Bill added imported shrimp to the USA Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), which requires traceability information on imported seafood from the point of capture or harvest to the point of the first sale in the USA.

Importers are required to use a program called the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), and they will need to enter more information than previously and hold all of their records for a minimum of two years.  Their records are protected as confidential under both the Trade Secrets Act and the Magnussen-Stevens Act.

On 31 December, NOAA Fisheries along with Customs and Border Protection officials started an informed compliance period for shrimp importers participating in the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. SIMP requires importers keep chain of custody data for products entering the United States. It also requires the shipments to come with harvest and landing data to ensure the products are properly labeled.

According to the NOAA Fisheries website, imported shrimp entries will be inspected and audited, but they will not be rejected through 1 March if the mandatory data is missing. The website adds that the “informed compliance” period allows shrimp processors and importers time to work through any accidental errors in their recordkeeping.

After 1 March, any entries without the required data will be rejected.

The 31 December start date was announced in a Federal Register publication last April. While there is a limited shutdown of the federal government currently, R.L. Visconti, an import broker, told SeafoodSource imports still need to comply with the guidelines.

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The goal of the program is to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood from entering U.S. commerce. At its simplest it establishes traceability of shrimp products

SIMP established data reporting and recordkeeping requirements for imports of certain priority seafood imports including shrimp because thaey were identified as being especially vulnerable to seafood fraud. The compliance date for most priority species was January 1, 2018. However, an administrative stay was placed on implementation for shrimp and abalone due to concerns over consistency with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

In February 2018, a bipartisan group of 11 senators sent a letter to Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) requesting that the FY18 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill include language to ensure that SIMP include shrimp within 30 days of enactment of the bill. The senators raised concerns about the use of antibiotics in some imported shrimp and suspect labor violations that produce some imported shrimp.

The FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill includes a provision that gives NMFS until the end of 2018 to apply SIMP to shrimp and abalone. The legislation also includes provisions concerning the domestic production of farmed shrimp that will ensure consistency with WTO rules, reports the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA). Shrimp is the largest U.S. seafood import, with over $6 billion in shrimp products imported in 2017, according to Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA).

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