Shrimping is big business in Louisiana. It actually is more of a way of life in our state than it is just a business. Recently those who make their money shrimping have been facing what they feel is unfair competition from import companies. The Louisiana shrimpers say that the cheaper, often lower quality product, is not subject to the same safety regulation as domestic shrimp is subject to. That has now changed.

The FDA announced a new policy on imported shrimp. The changes in the rules were spearheaded by Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy. Cassidy says this is more than an economic issue.

16% of the shrimp that were purchased had bacteria that shouldn’t be there, including things like vibrio and E.coli. As a doctor, that means a lot to me.

Cassidy's comments to the Louisiana Radio Network indicated that the scrutiny on imported shrimp would be no different that the same standards that our domestic producers have to meet or exceed if they want to put their product on the market in this country.

If sanitary processing is not used overseas, that is going to lower price. So, our folks who are doing to correctly but at a higher cost are competing with those who don’t do it correctly at a lower cost.

The new guidelines by the Food and Drug Administration calls for all imported shrimp and seafood to be screened before it is allowed into the country. There is no doubt this extra screening and attention to sanitation will cause an increase in price.  In this case demanding a better product is delivering a by product of a more fair market for our in state fishermen.

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