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Shrimp Exports To EU Under Threat

INDIA - Aquaculture shrimp exports to European Union (EU) are under threat after a recent audit visit of Food and Veterinary Office of EU expressed dissatisfaction with Indian residue monitoring systems.

More than 50 per cent of aquaculture shrimp exports from India go to EU countries and a ban would seriously disrupt aquaculture farms of the nation, Anwar Hashim, national president of Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) told The Financial Express.

“This will have a cascading effect on pricing and viability of shrimp culture, affecting the livelihood of lakhs of aqua farmers all over coastal India,” he added.

Brussels-based Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) is responsible for ensuring safety of food imported into EU and has the mandate to ban imports which do not match the standards prescribed by it.

In a strongly worded letter to the Indian Government after its biennial audit visit of Indian seafood testing laboratories, the FVO has spelled out that Indian system of residue monitoring was structurally flawed and ineffective. FVO was also disturbed on the count that official controls were not proper and the concerns raised by previous audit teams (2003 and 2006) were not addressed by the Indian authorities.

The organisation has threatened to ban Indian imports if the authorities fail to give a guarantee on issues raised by it, sources said.

“Any laxity on Indian part could jeopardise exports of more than Rs 1,500 crore….. the authorities have to guarantee that laboratory facilities are set up in all states and that all raw materials are tested before processing. Farms have to register with the coastal aquaculture authority to be eligible for exports,” Mr Hashim added.

Importers of Indian seafood have reported in the past rampant use of antibiotics such as chloramphenicol and nitrofuran in aquaculture farms.

Most countries are now insisting that the Export Inspection Council of India (EIC) provide antibiotic-free and health certificates with every shrimp shipment.

Traces of antibiotic residues in aquaculture shrimps exported in the past have prompted some of the European countries to reject several export consignments.

the Fish Site Editor

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