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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 (, RGCA ( and NETFISH ( for a period of 60 days. Suggestions/comments from the stakeholders and the public are invited.

Surimi and fish meal industries seek to prevent illicit catch from entering supply chains. In the 4th quarter of 2018, Pew and other stakeholders held workshops in Bangkok, Thailand, Surabaya, Indonesia, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, aimed at finding ways to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood from entering their supply chains. Nearly 100 industry representatives attended, ranging from fish meal and surimi feed producers to processors, buyers, and certification standard holders. As buyers and sellers of fish products, the fish meal and surimi industries play an important role in tackling IUU fishing. By working together and using the technology they can track and trace where their products come from.

Most companies are now aware of the risk that IUU-caught seafood might enter their supply chains and have policies in place to mitigate this threat. At the workshops, participants agreed that companies should track and trace their supply chains by identifying the people, product, and process interactions at each stage. At a minimum, the fish species, its origin, and the procurement method down to the originating fishing vessel should be clear and shared.

Workshop participants acknowledged the risk that both IUU fishing and safety and labor issues posed to their supply chains and expressed eagerness to take steps to mitigate such risks. They agreed that regulations are not always effective on their own, and many of the participating companies reported that they have opted to go above national requirements or have obtained seafood certification.


Friday, 19 April 2019 01:30

Australia: SIAA new Executive Officer

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The Seafood Importers Association of Australasia (SIAA) has announced a change to its management, with the appointment of Mark Boulter, who has been the Associations Technical Officer for the last 2 years, as the new Executive Officer. The SIAA, in operation since 1964, is a representative association with 15 members who import more than 50% of the seafood brought into Australia. It represents Members interests in consultative committees, workshops and conferences, and in relevant dealings with industry, government, media and public. It also provides advice to members on government legislation, regulations and policies; and on social responsibility issues. The Association maintains a Code of Conduct and assists members in meeting that code. The Code of Conduct includes many features that could be considered as representing best international practices for seafood trade, including, being qualified to import seafood, ensuring product traceability, handling customer complaints promptly, fairly and diligently, importing safe and sustainably sourced seafood, produced under appropriate labour conditions, and opposing malpractice.

Source: Seafood Importers Association of Australasia


The National Measurement Institute (NMI), the government regulator for weights and measures announced a clarification of its policy on determining the net weight of frozen seafood in retail and food service packaging, after a final consultation with the industry. The policy clarification covers all species of fish, crustaceans and molluscs normally traded, but excludes value-added variations such as marinades and coated seafood products.

NMI advised that the “frozen fish method”, which is sometimes known as the partial thaw method, or Test Procedure 7.9, will be the only method applied to determining the net weight of non value-added seafood. This method does not allow for the product‟s ice glaze to be included in the weight, statement regardless of being listed in the contents or ingredients. Thus a package of shrimp labeled 1 kilogram for instance should contain 1kg of shrimp once partially thawed following the NMI‟s described procedure. The NMI advised that, effective immediately, any complaints about seafood products would be investigated using this approach only. They also advised that in the next financial year, from 1 July, they will conduct a series of targeted compliance/enforcement activities to ensure that this approach is being followed by all parties in the marketplace to maintain a level playing field.

Source: INFOFISH Trade News, No. 8/2018


Scientists from the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) carrying out a study found that a common type of fish parasite, Acanthogyrus sp., also known as the thorny-headed worm can prevent the accumulation of heavy metals from pollution in the host fish’s tissues, making the fish safer for humans to eat. This parasite, accumulates heavy metal concentration in its host’s tissues: gills and intestine. The fish infected with this parasite have lower levels of heavy metals compared with fish not infected by it. The study has shown that acanthocephalan infection although affected the host’s size or weight and length had no significant effect on the immediate health of the fish. According to the researchers of the UPLB, the parasites stay in gills and intestine, the body parts of the fish which are most likely discarded by the consumers.

Source: DOST, Philippines


National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China (NHFPC) released 53 Food safety national standards including 52 standards on food contact materials and articles (FCM). In the new regulatory framework of FCM in China, these 52 standards as regards FCM can be divided into 3 categories- General standards, Product standards and Testing standards.

Source: National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People's Republic of China (NHFPC)

Tuesday, 21 March 2017 03:13

Taiwan: Strict food labeling regulations for Cod

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The Food and Drug Administration, Taipei (CNA) Taiwan introduced a slew of new regulations pertaining to the labeling of food products, with effect from 1st January, in an effort to improve food safety and protect consumers' rights. The new measures will cover among various other products, labeling regulations for cod. The new regulations, which are part of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, stipulate that only fish classified as Gadiformes should be labeled as cod. Other fish species close to the Gadiformes order, such as sea bass and Greenland halibut, should not be labelled as cod. The new labelling regulations took effect from January 1, 2017 and violators will be subject to fines of between NT$30,000 and NT$4 million, according to the FDA.


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