Online Program

Trade, seafood, and human health

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:05 a.m.

Patty Lovera, MS, Food and Water Watch, Washington, DC
From all-you-can-eat popcorn shrimp at chain restaurants, to bite-sized maki rolls at trendy sushi bars, to salmon steaks on the backyard barbecue – Americans eat 25 percent more seafood than they did 20 years ago, an average of 16 pounds a year. Currently around 91 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported. The leading exporters to the U.S. are China, Thailand, Canada, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Ecuador. While U.S. seafood is already largely imported, current negotiations to form the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes Canada and Vietnam and to which Thailand has asked for inclusion, may lead to an even larger share of seafood in the U.S. coming from these nations.

The FDA inspects less than 2 percent of imports for contaminants including drug residues, microbes, and heavy metals. When the FDA does inspect a seafood product, it only tests for minimal list of drugs. Half of the seafood imported into the U.S. is farmed. Aquaculture operators try to control disease and parasites in their farms by using antibiotics, fungicides, and other pesticides. Producers in some countries use nitrofurans, chloramphenicol, and other toxic antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. and other countries because of potentially harmful human side effects. As the import of farm raised fish increases the potential for human health effects in U.S. consumers grows along with it. This presentation will highlight these concerns at the intersection of trade, seafood, and human health

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain how the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership could impact the diet and health of U.S. consumers.

Keyword(s): Food Safety, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have directed Food & Water Watch research and policy analysis on issues including food safety and inspection for imported and domestic food, including seafood, as well as responding to media inquiries about the issue of seafood safety.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.