How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up on Your Table

How Antibiotic-Tainted Seafood From China Ends Up on Your Table

You might want to pass on the shrimp cocktail.

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Love shrimp? It’s the most popular seafood in the United States, but most of it is imported, and it can be very hard to tell where it originates. As Bloomberg Businessweek reporters Jason Gale, Lydia Mulvany, and Monte Reel explain, some of it comes from antibiotic-contaminated fish farms in China. They paint an alarming picture of ancient Chinese farming practices that combine with modern antibiotic-laced livestock feed to create a potential public health crisis. The authors expose the covert activities of international seafood companies bent on avoiding tariffs and inspection. getAbstract recommends this article to shrimp lovers everywhere.


Nearly 60% of the world’s seafood comes from China. In the Pearl River Delta, farmers raise pigs and geese alongside seafood farms. Livestock runoff nourishes the fish, as it has for millennia. But antibiotics in the animal feed make their way, largely undiluted, into the fish-farm water. One antibiotic, Colistin, which is banned for pigs in the United States, was commonly found in Chinese animal feed until November 2016.

In 2015, researchers published findings about a Colistin-resistant gene in China that causes numerous forms of bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant...

About the Authors

Jason Gale is a senior editor at Bloomberg Businessweek, with a special interest in global public health. Lydia Mulvany is a reporter at Bloomberg Businessweek, and Monte Reel is a published author and journalist.

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