Impact: U.S. agency inspects, refuses shrimp imports following TSN whistleblower’s disclosures

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has begun refusing shrimp imports from Choice Canning Company, after tests showed recent shipments were laced with veterinary drugs.

The refusal follows a March 20 investigation by The Outlaw Ocean Project which revealed evidence of potential food safety, human rights and labor abuses at Choice Canning’s shrimp processing factory in Amalapuram, India. The investigation was based on the well-documented disclosures of a brave U.S. whistleblower, Joshua Farinella, who worked until recently as the factory’s general manager.

The Signals Network (TSN) represents Farinella and has assisted him to file formal whistleblower reports with FDA; Customs and Border Protection; and various U.S. federal agencies and members of Congress.

Farinella’s story has gotten U.S lawmakers’ attention: In response, the House Committee on Natural Resources requested to access Joshua’s evidence of potential U.S. law violations and two congresspeople — Louisiana Republican Garret Graves and Alaskan Democrat Mary Sattler Peltola — sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging he halt shrimp imports from India.

The FDA tests less than one percent of imports for antibiotics. A March report published by Corporate Accountability Lab and reported on by Associated Press have highlighted that human rights and environmental abuses in the Indian shrimp industry are widespread.

“Without Joshua Farinella, contaminated shrimp would be on the shelves of US supermarkets right now,” said TSN Legal Director Jennifer Gibson. “We can’t just rely on government for checks and balances. We also need whistleblowers – and they need our protection – to help hold power companies accountable. Without them, we’re all less safe.”

About TSN

TSN provides holistic and individualized support to whistleblowers who disclose public interest information. Due to the patchwork of current whistleblower protection laws, whistleblowers are at significant risk of retaliation, estrangement, or alienation for speaking out for the public good.

TSN is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 2017 by journalists, whistleblowers and lawyers, TSN operates internationally to hold powerful interests accountable. TSN provides customized support to a selected group of whistleblowers who have contributed to published reports of significant wrongdoing. This support may include legal, psychological, physical safety, temporary safe-housing, online safety, career support and communication support.

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