Landrieu Urges Immediate Embargo of Processed Shrimp from Thailand and Bangladesh

Landrieu Urges Immediate Embargo of Processed Shrimp from Thailand and Bangladesh

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24 April 2008

Landrieu Urges Immediate Embargo of Processed Shrimp
from Thailand and Bangladesh
New Report alleges labor abuses and unsanitary conditions in these countries.

WASHINGTON — United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today sent a letter to President Bush urging him to immediately embargo imports of processed shrimp from Thailand and Bangladesh. Her concern is based on new claims that shrimp industry workers in Southeast Asia suffer gross labor abuses and unsanitary conditions that could jeopardize the health of American consumers.

“Shrimp is a $13 billion global industry with the U.S. importing over $4 billion worth,” Sen. Landrieu wrote in the letter. “As such, our country plays a critical role in driving demand. In an attempt to undercut our domestic shrimpers, processing plants in these two countries are alleged to use grossly inadequate food safety, environmental and labor standards. If these reports are true, we are jeopardizing the health and safety of Americans, and harming our own law-abiding domestic producers.”

The report was released by the Solidarity Center, and titled “The Degradation of Work: The True Cost of Shrimp.” CNN further elaborated on the sexual abuse, child labor, human trafficking and disgracefully low wages that are claimed to be commonplace conditions for shrimp industry workers in Thailand and Bangladesh.

“American consumers have the right to know if they are purchasing products made in such appalling and unsafe conditions,” the letter states. “Alone, the food safety issues are enough to embargo imports due to the health and safety concerns posed to all Americans. Those concerns, combined with the disgraceful labor conditions used to supply our market, demand an immediate prohibition against shrimp imports from these countries.”

A full copy of the letter is available here.

Source: Sen. Mary Landrieu