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EU rejects select marine exports on antibiotic use

The European Union (EU) has rejected some consignments of Indian black tiger shrimp, cuttle and squid fish blaming widespread use of antibiotics by aquaculture farms.

Safety concerns: Shrimps at a seafood restaurant in Guangzhou, China. In 2006-07, Europe was the largest market for Indian marine exports, accounting for nearly 33% of the total exports worth $1.8 billion.

Officials of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) confirmed that there have been a few rejections, but said there was no cause for alarm.

A.J. Tharakan, national president of SEAI and vice-chairman of MPEDA, said the consignments rejected were mainly from Andhra Pradesh. The trade promotion body has initiated steps to ensure quality at the farm level, he said.

With Indian shrimp exports attracting anti-dumping duty in the US, Europe is fast emerging as a major destination for marine exports from the country.

In 2006-07, Europe was the largest market for Indian marine exports, accounting for nearly 33% of the total exports worth $1.8 billion (Rs7,074 crore). Aquaculture contributed 45% of the total exports. According to the EU, it is possible to define a limit below which food containing such residue could be considered safe, but the commonly used antibiotics in aquaculture farms—chloramphenicol and nitrofuran—are considered potentially harmful at any level. Chloramphenicol could be fatal while nitrofuran is believed to cause damage to genes, which could lead to cancer.

Source: LiveMint.com

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