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Aquaculture Processors Face Closer Scrutiny

VIET NAM - Food-safety inspections of seafood processing plants will be stepped up this year, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (Nafiqad) has warned.

This follows up on a circular issued late last month by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) which called for clearly indicating origins and withdrawing products that do not meet quality and safety standards.

The moves seek to bolster exports of aquaculture produce by ensuring their quality following widespread reports of quality violations late last year.

Following an inspection of 30 Vietnamese aquaculture companies last month, Ukraine's State Committee for Veterinary Medicine approved only 10 of them to export to Ukraine.

Analysts said Ukraine was a promising market that could become a big buyer of Vietnamese seafood but the market's high quality requirements could pose a big challenge for Vietnamese exporters.

MARD has urged people's committees in key provinces – mostly in the Mekong River Delta, like Ca Mau, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, and Kien Giang – to step up oversight of aquacultural products through the supply chain until reaching the processing stage.

It has also told the authorities to work closely with relevant agencies to penalise and fix responsibility for quality violations, especially cases of injecting "extraneous" matters into raw shrimp.

These incidents have been reported widely in Ca Mau, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Kien Giang, with Nafiqad saying 25 processing units, mostly in the four provinces, were caught last month.

MARD has ordered Nafiqad to co-ordinate with local bodies to conduct inspections of aquaculture units in the four provinces to make sure that products do not contain extraneous matter.

Nafiqad will set up a process for inspecting all shrimp products for quality and safety and MARD will have to approve the products before they are sold in the market.

the Fish Site Editor

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