EU toughens testing norms on Indian aquaculture products

Source: Business Standard, Oct. 13, 2016

Bhubaneswar: Marine exports to the European Union (EU), the third largest market for Indian shrimp seafoodexports in dollars terms, is likely to be affected adversely as EU has revised its regulation to strengthen inspection norms for aquaculture products coming in from India.

As per the revised norms, the member states shall, by using appropriate sampling plans, ensure that official samples are taken from at least 50 per cent of consignments presented for import at border inspection posts on their territory.

According to an EU decision taken on October 4, the amendment is in accordance with the opinion of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.

In case a consignment consists of aquaculture products from more than one establishment of origin, samples shall be taken for each individual establishment, EU said in a notification.

The European Union is the third largest market for Indian shrimp exporters with a share of 20.71 per cent in dollar terms after the US (28.46 per cent) and South East Asia (24.59 per cent).

Quantity-wise EU is the third largest destination with a share of 19.70 per cent of the 945,892 tonnes of seafood exported from India in 2015-16

“Earlier, the norm was testing of samples from at least 10 per cent of the consignments. Unfortunately it has now been enhanced to 50 per cent. The exports from India will be affected as the cost of testing will have to be borne by the exporters”, said Ajay Dash, President, Seafood Exporters Association of India( SEAI)- Odisha region.

The amendment has been adopted after the results of analytical tests undertaken by official control laboratories demonstrated that the level of compliance of aquaculture products from India with tegard to presence of residues of chloramphenicol, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline and metabolites of nitrofurans is unsatisfactory.

The obligation for a mandatory testing should be strengthened to continue to deter producers in India from misusing the relevant substances and to minimise risks to human health in the European Union, the notification noted.

“The exports to EU are likely to be impacted adversely with the new norms because of the stringent norms. The percentage of rejection of consignments is likely to go up”, said Rajen Padhi, director, Exim consultant (seafood traders).

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