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Work on Hi-Tech Fish Testing Lab Begins

Sustainability Technology & equipment Processing +6 more

BANGLADESH - Construction of a high-tech laboratory has started in Savar to test for chemical contamination in fish and fishery products before they are exported to countries like Japan and those of the European Union.

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Fisheries and Livestock Minister Abdul Latif Biswas laid the foundation stone for 'Fisheries Inspection and Quality Control (FIQC) Laboratory, Dhaka' beside the site for Livestock Research Institute, reports BDNews24.

Local lawmaker Talukder Mohammad Towhid Jang Murad, Fisheries and Livestock Secretary Bikash Dutta and Director General of Fisheries Directorate Syed Arif Azad were present at the ceremony.

The laboratory is being constructed at an estimated cost of Tk 125 million under a Fisheries Directorate project titled 'Strengthening Fishery and Aquaculture Food Safety and Quality Management System in Bangladesh'.

Speaking at the inaugural function, the minister said Bangladesh exported around 96,500 tonnes of fish and fishery products worth Tk 46.04 billion in 2010-11 fiscal.

"It's essential to test whether Chloramphenicol, Nitrofurantoin and other banned antibiotics are used in fish and fishery products before exporting the items. Use of such banned antibiotics in fishery products is prohibited by the European Union."

In 2010, the government stopped export of fishery products to the EU countries after the economic grouping found Nitrofurantoin in fish exported from Bangladesh.

The Union lifted the ban after the government agreed to set up an accreditation lab.

The minister said though previously the European Union used to test 20 per cent of frozen fish consignments from the country to keep its exporters under a continuous pressure to improve compliance, Bangladesh has recently got rid of the mandatory screening after the country made progress in its residue monitoring system.

"There will be no problem in exports of frozen fish once the construction of the laboratory is completed. The lab will also help increase the amount of exports of the fishery items," he added.

Fisheries Department's Food Security Project chief Saleh Ahmed told that Bangladesh did not have an accreditation laboratory that the European Union, Japan and other countries asked for.

"There are three labs in Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong, but they are not modern enough to meet the importing countries' accreditation standards," he said.

Mr Ahmed said the new lab would get Bangladeshi exporters the necessary accreditation for prawn, fish and other fishery products.

He said the lab's infrastructure cost had been estimated at Tk 125 million. Lab equipment and machineries would be supplied by the European Union and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the fund provider of the project.