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Govt eyes tougher seafood import rules

AUSTRALIA - The federal government has welcomed reports that China will step up fish farm inspections after some trading partners blocked its seafood exports over contamination fears.

The government has also indicated it would consider toughening Australia's import requirements.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month began stopping all Chinese farm-raised eel, catfish, basa, shrimp and dace at its border, over concerns about high levels of antibiotics in the seafood. It had identified widespread contamination of Chinese seafood with drugs including malachite green, nitrofurans and fluoroquinolone.

Malachite green is a cancer-causing chemical used by fish farmers to kill parasites, while nitrofurans is an antibiotic also linked to cancer. Australia tests for malachite green in imported fish and for nitrofurans in prawns, but does not routinely test for fluoroquinolone contamination. Microbiologists are concerned that human bacteria will develop resistance to fluoroquinolone if it enters the food chain.

China, the world's largest producer of farmed fish, on Thursday said it was focusing on curbing antibiotic use.

China's state council passed draft rules on Wednesday to give local councils greater power to monitor firms and punish those found breaking the law. It also promised greater international cooperation, better safety checks and greater openness with quality problems.

Source: Brisbanetimes

the Fish Site Editor

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