Seafood importers, exporters meet to address shrimp antibiotic issue

A high-level meeting of Indian and European stakeholders engaged in the seafood sector is slated to take place later this month in Goa to discuss solutions for complying with food safety regulations in the production and trade of shrimp.

The meeting is slated to be held on the sidelines of India International Seafood Show to be held in Goa from January 27 to 29, 2018.

Over the last 10 years, the EU Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) is increasingly focused on Indian shrimp. 

There was a growing concern that the EU is seriously worried over the use of antibiotics in Indian shrimps- a fact that has surfaced at regular intervals in its findings. It is also dissatisfied with the response it got from the Indian authorities and is, thus, considering a ban.

In last November, a delegation from the EU was on a task to audit the control systems put in place to govern the production of exportable fishery products in India and exuded satisfaction on the quality of shrimp production.

In 2016, the EU changed the necessary number of fish exports inspected from 10% to 50%, among other actions taken to control the export of antibiotic-contaminated shrimp to the EU.

The high-level meeting is likely  have representatives from Embassy of Kingdom of the Netherlands, European importers Klaas Puul, Seafood Connection, and Nordic retailers, Marine Product Export Development Authority (MPEDA) Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) , Seafood Importers and Processors Alliance (SIPA), the Dutch Fish Importers Association (ViV) ,the  Danish Seafood Association , among others.

The aim is to create a shared understanding of the current situation and to develop a strategy to limit the use of antibiotics in the Indian shrimp sector in order to comply with applicable regulations, said a trade source.

The dialogue will facilitate “continuation of the trade between India and the EU. SIPA has a mandate to improve seafood safety and security and to ensure that standards are maintained into the future, said Ivan Bartolo, president of the European Seafood Importers and Processors Alliance . 

In addition to the national level, regional stakeholder meetings and an awareness campaign about proper antibiotics use by shrimp farmers will also be undertaken.

EU accounts for about 18 per cent of the country's seafood exports valued at $5.7 billion.

Members of SIPA are likely to attend the event. There may be discussion on issue pertaining to export of quality seafood to EU, said an Indian source.

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