Untested waters

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LOUISIANA (InvestigateTV) -- After five full days on the water, 63-year-old George Barisich returned home to south Louisiana with 3,500 pounds of shrimp.

"There's small handful of us that are surviving. Not flourishing. Not flourishing at all," said shrimper George Barisich.

Times are tough. The federal government estimates 94 percent of the seafood consumed in our country comes from overseas.

"You worked hard but you made good money back in the day. Now you work twice as hard for half the money," said Barisich.

But the masses of imported shrimp can also impact your health.
"Imports are just flooding the market. And the worst part about it is they're flooding the market with product that is not healthy to eat," he said.

"What's going on is dangerous," said Louisiana Senator John Kennedy

In February, InvestigateTV showed you 99.9% of all foreign seafood enters our country untested. But when the FDA does test, it finds banned drugs in nearly 10 percent of the seafood.

"It's so full of antibiotics, if you eat a steady diet of foreign seafood and you get sick and go to your doctor and need antibiotics for an illness, the antibiotics don't work," said Senator Kennedy.

After our story, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy helped secure an additional $3 million of funding to increase seafood inspections.
"That's a drop in a bucket. But to tell you how bad the bucket was, that's a 26% increase. I'm going to try to have a lot more added this year," he said.

The FDA also announced a new strategy it hopes will lead to improved testing of foreign seafood.

The FDA says it will now require importers to prove they are meeting U.S. food safety standards.

And the FDA plans to assess other countries regulator oversight to focus more on imports coming from the riskiest countries.

Our investigation showed testing in the U.S. is substandard to many other parts of the world. When some countries find bad seafood, they do more about it.

"We're trying to get to the point like the European Union does. If they inspect it and it's bad, they destroy it. In this country, they inspect it, put it back in the truck and send it to another port, and it circumvents and comes in. Something's wrong with that equation," said George Barisich.

And if the equation isn't balanced soon - Barisich believes he'll remain at a disadvantage competing with foreign farmed - and possibly dangerous - shrimp.

"My ponds are designed by God. I don't have any antibiotics. I catch them right here," said Barisich.