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Mandatory Health, Safety Proof On Imported Seafood

Food safety & handling +2 more

BRUNEI - The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources through the Department of Fisheries will require health certificates and food safety assurances on imported seafood products to protect consumers from harmful chemicals.

Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar announced this at the opening ceremony of a seminar entitled "To Increase the Awareness of Seafood Safety among Seafood Business Operators" here.

"These steps are taken to ensure that seafood products such as fish and shrimp are safe to be consumed," Pehin Dato Hj Yahya told the participants at the seminar.

With the consent of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the Minister stressed the importance of the safety and quality of local and imported seafood products, which must be free from harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, mercury, lead and zinc.

The government must also ensure that the food products do not contain chemicals such as antibiotics, growth hormones, and pathogens.

To do so, the Department of Fisheries will continue its joint effort with other government institutions such as Ministry of Health, Municipal Department, Brunei-Muara District Office and Attorney General's Chamber.

"I see the need of this cooperation and I appreciate the effort because food safety in general is our responsibility," he added.

He also urged the public to support the consent of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam by reporting any violation on seafood product regulations.

"(Consumers) should avoid vendors who break the law and regulations," he said, adding that people should show more concern and responsibility in this matter.

The Minister said that the department was in the process of increasing its laboratory performance in analysing seafood products.

Last year, he added, the department received the recognition on laboratory accreditation ISO/IEC 17025 for Fish Inspection and Quality Control (FIQC) Laboratories.

The purpose of the event was to increase the awareness on food safety especially seafood products of all business operators, importers and fish vendors.

Director of Fisheries Hjh Hasnah Ibrahim said the objectives of the seminar were to share information on the importance of producing and distributing healthy seafood products and to inform the public with the Department of Fisheries programme on monitoring seafood products, aquaculture and processing as well as analysing samples of seafood products at the laboratory to ensure that they are free from microbiological and harm chemicals.

Hjh Hasnah added that the seminar was to raise awareness of the law and regulations on controlling imported fish and shrimp that are prohibited from entering the country and the selling of unsafe seafood products.

A guest speaker, Senior fisheries officer at the Department of Fisheries Hjh Laila Hj Hamid, said laboratory staff members will inspect and monitor hygiene in the ponds, water samples and seafood products monthly.

"If we find that (standards are not complied with) ... we will give the business operators notice to improve the quality of their facilities and products," Hjh Laila said, adding that it should be settled in two weeks.