FDA Sending Its Agents Around the World
China First—By the End of the Year
The Associated Press reports: The USA Food and Drug Administration will establish its first office in China before the end of 2008 as part of a broader plan to assure the safety of imports from the developing world. After opening its initial office in Beijing, FDA expects to post eight USA staffers to China in 2009 and then open additional outposts in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
In addition, FDA plans to send ten employees to India, split between New Delhi and at least one other location yet to be determined.
The plan for permanent outposts marks a break from the agency’s current practice of sending inspectors abroad on individual assignments.
FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach’s Plan
On October 16, 2008, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach laid out his plan to place more than 60 food and drug regulators worldwide over the next year, focusing on China, India, Latin America and the Middle East. They will inspect foreign facilities, provide guidance on USA quality standards, and eventually train local experts to conduct inspections on behalf of the FDA.
The safety of imported food and drugs has become a growing concern as domestic manufacturers shift operations overseas and foreign producers make inroads here.
“We are sending a very clear message to producers: if you want to have access to our market you need to make products that meet our standards of quality,” Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt told reporters. Leavitt oversees the FDA and other federal health agencies.
FDA officials said the plan would cost about $30 million in its first year, primarily to set up the offices and hire new staffers, including foreign nationals who would report to the agency.
Leavitt and von Eschenbach encourage shrimp processors around the world to get certified by independent parties to verify that their plants meet USA standards. Attempts to establish similar programs in the USA have had limited success because many companies balk at paying for their own regulation. But Leavitt said the USA government would reward the practice by giving expedited entry to imports that have been independently inspected, while stepping up scrutiny of those that haven’t.
“We want producers to know that we are going to be looking very carefully at those products that haven’t been independently looked at by someone we trust,” Leavitt said. “That’s a powerful incentive for people to get independently certified.”
Officials said the FDA does not have the authority to accredit third-party inspectors and would have to seek Congress’s approval to do so.
Democrats, however, have already proposed a very different plan to increase inspections. Under a bill from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (Democrat, Michigan), companies would pay mandatory user fees to help finance additional FDA inspections. Dingell and other Democrats have stepped up their oversight of imported drugs in the last year after several high-profile drug safety issues.
According to a Government Accountability Office report issued earlier in 2008, FDA is making progress at inspecting more foreign drug manufacturing sites, but it is still inspecting less than 11 percent of the “high priority” plants on its list of plants that need checking.
Source: Seafood.com (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service). FDA will open inspection office in Beijing this year. Ken Coons (phone 781-861-1441, email email@example.com). Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 781-861-1441, email firstname.lastname@example.org). October 17, 2008.
The Crustacean Society’s Summer Meeting 2009
Registration is open for The Crustacean Society’s summer meeting scheduled for September 20-25, 2009, at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology in Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan.
Registration and Submission of Abstracts: Visit this site for general information and check back often because it will be updated regularly. Contributions in all areas of crustacean biology are invited, including: systematics, taxonomy, evolution, phylogeny, ecology, behavior, sociobiology, larval biology, physiology, symbiosis, parasitology, genetics, molecular biology, biogeography, fossils, ichnology, taphonomy, paleobiology, conservation, introduced species, fisheries and farming.
Local Host Organization: Carcinological Society of Japan.
Information: Akira Asakura, Senior Researcher, Natural History Museum and Institute, Crustacea, Zoology Department, 955-2, Aoba-cho, Chuo-ku, Chiba, 260-8682 Japan (phone +81-43-265-3274, fax +81-43-266-2481, email email@example.com).
Source: Crust-L, an email-based mailing list for crustacean scientists (To subscribe, send an email to LISTPROC@VIMS.EDU. In the body of the email, put SUBSCRIBE CRUST-L). Subject: [CRUST-L:3831] TCS Summer Meeting in Japan. From: Akira Asakura (email firstname.lastname@example.org). October 13, 2008.
Shrimp Exports to Bangladesh and Thailand Increase
In fiscal year 2008–2009, Myanmar estimates that $6.84 million worth of fishery products will be exported to Bangladesh through the Maungdaw Trade Zone, one of three export zones in the state of Arakan that export fishery products valued at around $10 million to Thailand and Bangladesh. The most common exports to Bangladesh are fresh and dried fish—and shrimp.
Source: Narinjara. Fishery Exports from Arakan Expected to Reach $6.84 Million. October 16, 2008.
National Prawn Company
In late October 2008, National Prawn Company showcased its $700 million shrimp farm—“the world’s largest fully integrated desert aquaculture farm”—at Sea Food Expo 2008 in Dubai. National Prawn plans to expand its regional market share and strengthen its leadership as the largest, fully integrated, “stand alone” shrimp farm in the world. Currently producing 15,000 metric tons of shrimp a year, NPC plans to increase its output to 45,000 tons by 2010.
NPC takes pride in offering buyers and consumers the confidence that they are purchasing a fully sustainable food product that can be traced back to its all-natural origins. It also guarantees that its ISO accredited products are antibiotic-free.
Source: Zawya.com. National Prawn Company to showcase USD 700 million desert aquaculture farm at ‘Sea Food Expo 2008’. Press Release. October 16, 2008.
How Charoen Pokphand Farms Shrimp
Writing in the Global Aquaculture Advocate, the bimonthly magazine of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Robins McIntosh, Senior Vice President of Shrimp Production Technology at Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co., Ltd., said:
Charoen Pokphand Foods, a large, integrated operation, owns and leases 1,789 hectares of shrimp ponds in Thailand. In 2007, it produced nearly 48,000 metric tons of shrimp.
Its shrimp farms in Thailand are divided into three geographic regions, each with somewhat differing conditions and yields. The eastern region is characterized by cool winter temperatures, the central region by low salinities and cool winters, and the southern region by optimal salinities and temperatures. The highest yields in the southern region are greater than 15 metric tons per hectare per crop.
One of the strengths of an integrated farming business is that management can take regional differences and markets into consideration and then direct the farms to produce the shrimp sizes that are required by the company’s processing units.
Charoen Pokphand’s farms typically have 0.4–1.5-hectare ponds, a series of reservoirs, backup electrical generation, an office maintenance complex and a housing/recreation complex for management and workers. All ponds are plastic lined to ensure that pond bottom conditions do not deteriorate from cycle to cycle. Liners also allow fast turnaround time between cycles and maximize growth rates.
Antibiotics are completely banned from Charoen Pokphand’s farms and hatcheries. The philosophy is prevention of disease by providing a healthy environment for the shrimp instead of curing an ailment. Key to that healthy environment is the placement of sufficient paddlewheel aerators to maintain oxygen levels of greater than four parts per million in all pond areas and maintain a clean, oxidized bottom condition. All ponds are equipped with aeration applied at around 1-hp/500 kg of the anticipated shrimp harvest.
Probiotics are used to create a healthy microbial environment for the shrimp in both the water column and sediment layers. Charoen Pokphand produces two categories of probiotics for use on its farms. The first is composed of photosynthetic bacteria that are effective in keeping pond bottoms healthy. The second is a mixture of specifically isolated bacillus bacteria that can be added to the water directly or top-dressed on feed. Routine use of probiotics has resulted in significantly fewer health problems in ponds and eliminated the need to use antibiotics.
Maximum pond growth and survival are obtained when ponds are properly prepared for increased natural production after the disinfection process. Ponds are fertilized with a combination of inorganic and organic fertilizers to increase the plankton numbers and the amount of detritus.
For the first 40 days, feed is applied at rates based on the number of shrimp stocked. After 40 days, feed rates are set by calculations determined by combining values from feed tables based on size, assumed survival rates and feed tray observations. To fully express the increased growth rate potential bred into shrimp, farms increase feed rates accordingly.
Charoen Pokphand stocks ponds at densities that yield 12-16 metric tons per hectare at the targeted harvest size. Thus, if the marketing team asks for 60-count (17 grams) shrimp, the farm would stock 90-100 postlarvae per square meter. For a pond directed to harvest at 80-count (12.5 grams) shrimp, the pond would be stocked at 120-130 postlarvae per square meter. Feed conversions vary according to the size of shrimp harvested. For 60-count shrimp, a feed-conversion ratio of 1.6 is typical.
Source: The Global Aquaculture Advocate. Editor, Darryl Jory (email@example.com). Production/Advancing Shrimp Farm Technologies Support Greater Efficiencies, Sustainability. Robins McIntosh (Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Co., Ltd., C. P. Tower, 27th Floor, 313 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500 Thailand, email firstname.lastname@example.org). Page 88, September/October 2008.
Australians Check Out Shrimp Farming
Hosted by the Royal Thai Government Department of Agriculture, a delegation of ten Australians associated with the seafood industry recently participated in an intensive eight-day, fact-finding tour of Thailand’s shrimp farming industry.
The delegation was led by Seafood Australia’s (which sets seafood standards in Australia) Norm Grant and included seafood buyers from three of Australia’s largest food wholesalers and importers. Grant introduced the delegation to more than 20 industry and government groups in Thailand for discussions on the 80% drop in shrimp trade between the two countries because of Australia’s quarantine on raw shrimp, introduced in September 2007. Grant said: “The subsequent inconsistency in supply and all the negative press on imported shrimp in recent years has killed demand right across the category. Australia was potentially a shrimp market of 50,000 tons a year, but now it can’t handle a fraction of that. The price of processed uncooked shrimp has doubled due to extreme shortages and we estimate lost sales by local food service and retail businesses are on the order of $270 million annually.”
In a recent twist, local shrimp producers who sent product to China for processing and repackaging are now having problems reimporting it.
Source: Austasia Aquaculture. Tim Walker, Editor-in-Chief (AustasiaAquaculture@netspace.net.au). Aussi Trade Delegation Scrutinizes Thai Prawn Safeguards. Dos O’Sullivan. Volume 22, Number 3, Page 46, September 2008.
Shrimp Certification Program
In the September 2008 issue of Austasia Aquaculture, Dos O’Sullivan, who contributes articles on shrimp farming to the magazine, reports on Thailand’s efforts to produce the highest quality shrimp in the world. I recommend that you get a copy of his report (see Source below) to see how Thailand—through a Code of Conduct Guidelines and Good Aquaculture Practices—sets a great example for shrimp farmers around the world. Here are some excerpts from O’Sullivan’s report:
Background: In 2007, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the world’s fishermen and farmers produced around 4.5 million tons of shrimp and prawns, 45% of it farmed, 90% of it from the Eastern Hemisphere, mostly Southeast Asia. The major producers were Thailand (530,000 tons), China (480,000 tons), South America (395,000 tons), Indonesia (285,000 tons), India (265,000 tons) and Vietnam (145,000 tons). Thailand has been the biggest shrimp exporter for more than 15 years.
Quality Assurance: A Quality Assurance and Health Certification program has been underway since 1997, ensuring that Thai farmers and processors are producing excellent quality and safe to eat shrimp for the world market. The “Q-Mark” quality assurance program underpins the Thai Quality Shrimp Program. Operating since 2003, products labeled with the Q-Mark qualification must come from certified hatcheries and farms, been fed only registered feeds and have been handled by certified brokers, post harvesters, processing plants and factories.
Farming Practices: The DoF has implemented two quality shrimp standard programs—the Good Aquaculture Practice or GAP program and the Code of Conduct for responsible marine shrimp culture or CoC. These two standards were developed on the basis of international standards such as the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Article 9 on Aquaculture) and ISO 14001.
Antibiotics: For the last five years a major thrust of the Thai effort has been directed toward educating farmers, shrimp distributors, feed manufacturers and processors about the importance of eliminating antibiotic residues in shrimp. A team of more than 500 fishery officers works very closely with all stakeholders particularly with the shrimp farmers. Several government agencies have also worked together to drastically reduce the importation of prohibited antibiotics. Each crop of shrimp is tested three weeks before harvesting for drug and chemical residues.
The elimination of antibiotics contamination in shrimp products has been implemented aggressively. There are 28 well-equipped and staffed monitoring laboratories each containing sophisticated equipment such as liquid chromatography-mass mass-spectrometry (LC/MS/MS, for nitrofurans and malachite green), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC for oxolinic acid and oxytetracycline), ELISA for chloramphenicol and FCR/RT-PCR for viral detection.
Trade Problems with Australia: Mr. Rachane Pojanasuntorn, Director General of the Department of Export Promotion, said that the Thai industry prided itself on exporting good quality shrimp to the world. So the Thais are somewhat perplexed by Australia’s restrictions on the import of raw Thai shrimp. If they are okay for the USA, the EU and Japan, why not Australia?
Indeed, Mr. Rachane suggested that Thai Trade Minister Ming Kwan would be seeking bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Simon Crean to find a solution. Funds have been authorized for promotion of Thai shrimp in Australia focusing on Thai quality and food safety. Speaking on behalf of the Australian trade mission, Norm Grant of Seafood Australia said the group—comprised of major wholesale buyers and journalists—were very impressed with the high standards of production, processing, traceability and certification they saw. They said that the facilities that they saw were far better equipped than those in Australia and that the Thai’s adherence to quality assurance systems shows genuine dedication from the farm managers right through to factory production supervisors and lab technicians.
Mr. Udom Chariyavilaskul, Vice President of the Thai Frozen Foods Association (TFFA, an exporters association), said that its mission was to become a world leader in frozen food exports through its systems of quality, standards and environmental protection. He said that TFFA would be able to comply with any technically viable standards that are set; it just needs to be told what those standards are.
As Australia was the TFFA’s fifth largest customer, Udom is keen to see the establishment of an Australian testing facility in Thailand.
Information: For information on the Thai shrimp industry, quality assurance and certification, contact Sawanit Phongprapai, Minister Counsellor (Agriculture), Office of Agricultural Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy, 10 Bulwarra Close, O’Malley, Canberra, ACT 2606 Australia (phone 0412-244-267, fax 02-6286-8847, email email@example.com).
Source: Austasia Aquaculture. Tim Walker, Editor-in-Chief (AustasiaAquaculture@netspace.net.au). Thailand leads world in shrimp culture and certification. Dos O’Sullivan. Volume 22, Number 3, Page 48, September 2008.
California—Triton Foods’ Shrimp Price List
Triton Foods, an importer and seafood trader in Southern California, posted the following prices for giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and western white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) for the week of October 27–31, 2008.
Information: Daniel Manfredi, Sales and Marketing, Triton Foods, 5798 Oak Bank Trail, Oak Park, California 91377 USA (phone 310-595-0288, fax 818-851-9035, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Source: Email with attached Excel price sheet to Shrimp News International from Daniel Manfredi on October 25, 2008.
North Carolina—Fisherman Catches Tiger Shrimp
On October 15, 2008, Sneads Ferry shrimper John Costner caught what is almost certainly a giant tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon). “You’ve got to see it to appreciate it. He’s just so big and amazing; it’s like ‘The Hulk’,” Costner said of the shrimp that weighed in at a quarter of a pound and measured ten inches.
Costner caught the shrimp at Gray’s Point in the New River and turned it over to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Trish Murphey, a division biologist, said she was waiting to receive the actual shrimp for examination, but from the photographs she had seen, it appeared to be a giant tiger shrimp.
If that proves to be the case, it will be the third confirmed report of the nonnative species in local waters this season. “We have two confirmed reports so far; I had those in hand and looked at them through the microscope,” Murphey said. “One was from the New River in basically the same area (as Costner’s) and the second was in the ocean off Oak Island.”
P. monodon is native to the Western Pacific Ocean but has been appearing in local waters over the past several years and in waters off South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.
There was one report of a giant tiger shrimp being caught in North Carolina in 2006 and three reports in 2007, according to the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Background Information: Penaeus monodon Sightings in the Western Hemisphere and Who’s Got the Biggest Monodon.
Source: jdnews.com. New River yields Asian shrimp. Jannette Pippin (phone 910-382-2557, email email@example.com, webpage http://www.jdnews.com/news/shrimp_60152___article.html/black_tiger.html). October 18, 2008.
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