Indian authorities have upped their inspection regimes in the face of possible European Union action against the perceived issue of antibiotic traces in exports of shrimp.
Its Export Inspection Council (EIC) has taken strong steps in a bid to avoid any sort of ban or other sanctions on India shrimp sales to the EU, Derek Golding, chairman and founder of UK importer Seahawk Marine Foods, told Undercurrent News.
“I had a detailed email from our Chennai office advising all the delays to shipment of our many pending shrimp containers; delays ranging from three to six weeks after the contracted dates for shipments,” he said.
Harvesting for these shipments has been complete, but “for more than a month now the Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) – the local arms of the EIC – have had their own staff drawing samples from the factories and returning those samples to their own laboratories for antibiotic residue testing”.
Private testing by accredited laboratories is no longer sufficient or permitted, he said.
The delays are mainly being caused by a lack of manpower within the local EIAs to deal with the sudden vast increase in workload being brought in-house, he said.
“But that is a natural immediate consequence of such sound and responsible action by the Indian government, and this company has no argument with it – and is happy to live with the delays – if ultimately we are able to see good science and common sense prevailing.”
Golding hopes to see the EU recognize the competence of the Indian EIA laboratories, and an acceptance of their pre-shipment negative test results, negating the need for “any mandatory tests on arrival at EU ports, let alone 50% of all Indian imports [as is the case currently]”.
Any Indian processor that sees product test positive for residues at any EU port of entry will be stripped of his EU export license by the EIA, Golding added. “If there is any other country exercising greater control over its exporters and their product integrity I would like to know of it.”
Meanwhile an EU delegation will be in from Nov. 21- 28, he told Undercurrent.
“The normal procedure would then be for their report to be compiled and issued, with any perceived shortcomings conveyed to the Indian Competent Authority with a timetable to fix any defective or non-EU compliant areas.”
He added he was sure there was no justification for an Indian shrimp import ban, but was also not certain the “right” outcome would be reached.
Source : UnderCurrent News