European Union may widen scope of testing for Indian marine products

The European Union is considering to widen the scope of testing of Indian aquaculture products after finding deficiencies in the control of residues and contaminants in animals and animal products from India.

The Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission had conducted an audit in India (April 16-27, 2018) on the control of residues and contaminants in live animals, animal products and veterinary medicines.

The outcome of the EU's audit was discussed at two standing committee meetings of the European Commission last month.

"The official summary of one of these meetings has now been published. It would appear that members of this committee are recommending for testing of wider range of antibiotic residues in aquaculture products from India. There was no mention of a departure from the current 50 per cent  testing of imports into the EU and, critically, there was no mention of a complete ban. Of course these three options cannot be completely ruled out but it is a good sign that they are not being discussed", said Ivan Bartolo, regulatory affairs advisor, Seafish which represents the UK seafood industry.

The findings (of the audit) were discussed with the member states who were advised to consider expanding their scope of testing of Indian aquaculture products, in particular for  residues of antimicrobial substances. In addition  to the  already ongoing testing for  chloramphenicol, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline and metabolites of nitrofurans,  focus  should also be put on the testing of macrolides, aminoglycosides, beta-lactams including cephalosporins, lincosamides, diaminopyrimidines and doxycycline, read a report of the  European Commission.

In 2016, EU had strengthened its inspection norms for aquaculture products sent from India after finding presence of  antibiotics in them. Earlier, the norm was testing samples from at least 10 per cent of the consignments, which was enhanced to 50 per cent in 2016.
EU, after USA and South East Asia, is the third largest destination for Indian seafood with frozen shrimp continuing to be the major item of export.

The 28 member nation accounted for 15.77 per cent of US$ 7.08 worth of Indian seafood exports clocked in 2017-18.

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