With shrimp imports into the U.S. totaling over one billion pounds year-over-year, farm-raised shrimp from overseas remains a hot commodity throughout the country. However, concerns from global health organizations remain over the use of antibiotics in the production of farm-raised shrimp.
Antibiotics are not approved for use in any shrimp aquaculture, yet antibiotic use is common in many shrimp producing countries.
Why do shrimp farms around the world use antibiotics even as they are banned by the FDA? Highly stressful aquatic environments caused by intensive farming and abusive feed practices make shrimp more susceptible to disease that could destroy a producer’s entire crop of shrimp.
Because the FDA only tests a very small percent of shrimp imported into the U.S., using antibiotics throughout a shrimps lifecycle and hoping their shipments pass through customs undetected is a risk producers in many countries deem worth taking.
Ecuador is the third largest importer of shrimp into the U.S., and yet over the last decade (2010-2020), not a single container was refused import into the domestic market. Meanwhile, over the same ten-year span, over 1,000 containers were refused from America’s largest and most dominant importers in Asia due to the presence of illegal antibiotics in their farm-raised shrimp.
Ecuadorian ponds are ensured to be antibiotic free by governing bodies across the country which have monitoring programs that go above and beyond international aquaculture certification bodies such as BAP and ASC.
That’s partly why Ecuador’s aquaculture operation has been named the best of its kind by regulating bodies such as the Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch.Rest easy that your next batch of shrimp is assuredly and completely antibiotic-free.