EU relaxes ban on Asian seafood –

EU relaxes ban on Asian seafood Published:  10 May, 2010

Vincent Piket

THE European Union is rejecting much less fish and seafood from South East Asia than a year ago, according to reports from the region.

Less than half of Malaysian seafood exporters barred from selling to Europe in 2008 have complied with the rules and resumed exports, said the European Union ambassador Vincent Piket. Out of the 26 companies  disallowed, only five are back on the list and another two in the process of being re-listed, he said.

Since the ban, the industry had focused on ensuring the biggest exporters complied with EU health standards first.

In June 2008, the Malaysian government voluntarily decided to temporarily freeze exports of aquaculture products to the EU after exporters failed to meet health standards. It forced some seafood processors to appeal to the state government for help as they have been severely hit by the ban.

And from India come reports that the number of rejections of Indian shrimp (scampi) by the European Union has fallen drastically after the modalities of testing the exports for the banned antibiotic nitrofuran were modified last September.

A cursory examination of the data provided by the EU reveals only one rejection compared to more than 50 rejections last year  mainly before the introduction of the revised testing formula in September. Some of the rejections were due to the presence of nitrofuran metabolite.

Only last month a group off North American seafood producers warned that imports of certain shrimp products from India  were  below standard because they contained potentially harmful antibiotics. The producers appealed to the US Food and Drug Administration to  step up its testing of Indian seafood imports.