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Friday, 19 April 2019 01:39

India: Scheme for certification of hatcheries for production and supply of antibiotic free shrimp seed Featured

India has raised concerns about the rejection of its shrimp shipments by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for alleged use of banned antibiotics such as chloramphenicol or nitrofurans, often used by producers to prevent disease outbreaks. According to the president of the All India Shrimp Hatcheries Association, the highly sensitive test protocols cannot differentiate if the residue detected is from the usage of antibiotics or background signal emanating from the extremely low level of antibiotics or compounds existing in the environment that mimic those antibiotics. The US FDA refused to allow 26 shrimp entry lines from India into the US in January for banned antibiotics. It had refused 27 shipments in 2017 and 2018. The US is the largest market for Indian shrimp exporters and accounts for about one-third of seafood exports from India.

On the other hand, the European Union is considering testing Indian seafood imports for a wider range of antibiotic residues, following the results of a report that found deficiencies in food
safety control in the South Asian country. Two European Commission committees discussed the report, which was based off a visit made by inspectors in November 2017 in response to mounting concerns in Europe over the number of shipments of Indian shrimp found to contain excessive amounts of antibiotics. The results of the audit were delivered in May 2018. According to the official summary of one of the meetings, European officials are considering testing for a wider range of antibiotic and antimicrobial residues in all aquaculture products imported into the EU from India, including shrimp.

In response to ongoing compliance problems, and in an effort to make the shrimp products free from residues of antibiotic, India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has initiated a certification programme for the aquaculture farms and hatcheries. As an initial step, a draft guideline for Certification of hatcheries by a committee consisting of the representatives of hatchery operators, aquaculture farms owners, and MPEDA officers was prepared.

The draft scheme with standards, procedures, etc are available in the websites of MPEDA (www.mpeda.gov.in), RGCA (www.rgca.org.in) and NETFISH (www.netfishmpeda.org) for a period of 60 days. Suggestions/comments from the stakeholders and the public are invited.

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