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Determined To Meet EU Standards

BRUNEI - The Department of Fisheries has implemented several requirements of the European Commission's Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in improving food safety and quality standards to boost its chances of exporting to the European market, its director said.

This includes establishing a team of trained fisheries inspectors and securing international accreditation for its Fish Inspection and Quality Control (FIQC) laboratories, said Hjh Hasnah Hj Ibrahim.

In an interview with BruDirect.com, she said that the department has achieved inter-national accreditation for its Fish Inspection and Quality Control (FIQC) laboratories - "the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 which are "General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories" - early this year.

She explained that major requirements under the European Union (EU) seafood market include ensuring factories and processes comply with best aquaculture practices, establishing a legal framework, getting the lab certification, quality control and creating a team of trained fisheries inspectors.

The department is now working on establishing a legal framework for the seafood entrepreneurs and producers, after implementing the FIQC and setting up the team.

"We have to make sure that our legal framework is able to cover the requirement of EU and we are looking at it," Hjh Hasnah said.

"Our challenge right now is to get all the seafood entrepreneurs and producers to comply with the regulations. We have been providing them with knowledge on good aquaculture practices, to show them that this is the way."

The FVO came to Brunei last year to make inspections, she added.

The FVO is a service of the European Commission (EC) tasked with ensuring that community legislation on food safety, animal and plant health, and animal welfare is properly enforced.

According to the final report of the inspection on the EC website, the FVO had sent two inspectors to evaluate whether the official controls put in place by the Fisheries Department could guarantee that the conditions of production of fishery products for export to the EU, have met its requirements.

the Fish Site Editor

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