The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) sent a team of seafood safety specialists to Bangladesh this week to help train local health officials on aquaculture safety.

According to the FDA, the goal of the trip is to work with Bangladeshi officials to help the country improve the quality and safety of its seafood for both domestic and international markets.

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“Collaborating with other countries in this way not only helps to improve the quality and safety of their domestic product, but also what they export to the United States and other countries around the world,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for International Programs Murray M. Lumpkin.

The trip will include lectures, demonstrations, site visits and group activities, to train local experts so that they can train other local officials on Good Aquacultural Practices.

“Because of the rapid development of aquaculture, FDA’s role in protecting public health is more important than ever,” said Stephen Sundlof, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. 

“Cooperative programs such as this will help ensure that accepted Good Aquacultural Practices are adopted and practiced around the world,” added Sundlof.

Aquaculture is the production of seafood including shrimp, fish and plants under controlled conditions for at least part of their lifecycle. According to the FDA, the aquaculture sector has grown more than 11 percent annually.

Awuaculture is now the fastest-segment growing segment of agriculture worldwide, accounting for 52 percent of all fish produced, according to the agency. In the US, 85 percent of all seafood consumed is imported from approximately 50 different countries, of that 40 percent comes from aquaculture and 60 percent is from wild harvest.