Keeping Fraudulent Shrimp Out of Your Cocktail

The U.S. government is clamping down on seafood fraud and illegal fishing for shrimp imports.

Did you know that the shrimp on your appetizer plate could be tainted or harvested by slave labor?

The ocean advocacy group Oceana reported that approximately 30 percent of shrimp products in the United States are mislabeled or misrepresented, making it easy for even the most conscientious consumers to purchase shrimp from questionable sources.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working to reduce the risk of consumers purchasing misrepresented seafood by increasing transparency in the industry. In 2016, the agency finalized a rule establishing the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), which bars certain prioritized varieties of seafood from being imported into the United States unless key production information is provided.

Shrimp—the largest U.S. seafood import—is particularly vulnerable to fraudulent activity, and is included among the 13 fish varieties SIMP targets. Still, NOAA delayed SIMP’s requirements  for shrimp until earlier this year, citing a need to gather more information on how similar requirements could be imposed on domestically farmed shrimp.

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