The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report criticizing the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) oversight of imported seafood safety. Noting that about one-half of imported seafood comes from fish farms that may use antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections, the report claims that “residues of some drugs can cause cancer and antibiotic resistance.”

Titled “FDA Needs to Improve Oversight of Imported Seafood and Better Leverage Limited Resources,” the report urges FDA to enhance its import sampling program. “FDA’s oversight program to ensure the safety of imported seafood from residues of unapproved drugs is limited, especially as compared with the European Union,” the report states, adding that FDA inspectors “generally do not visit the farms to evaluate drug use or the capabilities, competence, and quality control of laboratories that analyze the seafood.”

The report also recommends that FDA (i) “study the feasibility of adopting practices used by other entities to better ensure the safety of imported seafood,” and (ii) “develop a strategic approach” to enhance collaboration with the National Marine Fisheries Service.