Strict measures to ensure seafood safety for export

Drastic measures will be taken from product production to product processing to ensure the quality, hygiene and safety of seafood end-products for export .

According to the Viet Nam National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Association (Nafiquaved) under the Ministry of Fisheries, in addition to the decentralisation of hygiene and food safety management in seafood production, origins of all batches of seafood must be reported in order to raise businesses' responsibility for the quality of their products.

Fishermen will be provided with concrete farming techniques as well as simple and effective protective methods to ensure the supply of safe products for seafood processing establishments.

The ministry has also cooperated with relevant agencies to complete a system of legal documents on seafood safety and aquatic product disease control in accordance with the WTO commitments.

Particularly, the application of technical criteria will be mandatory for all shrimp farming establishments as of July 1, 2007; for fish sauce production establishments as of January 1, 2008; for frozen, canned , instant and dried seafood processors as of July 1, 2008; and fishing ships as of January 1, 2009.

Nguyen Tu Cuong, head of Nafiquaved, said that the inspection of the quality of export seafood has been strictly conducted in processing factories over the recent past and expanded to product producing areas.

The most successful was the programme controlling the residue of toxic substances in seafood and farmed aquatic products, bi-vale molluse, which met the demands of European, American, Canadian and Japanese markets.

Many businesses have invested in upgrading and renewing processing equipment, especially equipment to check the quality of products, with the increased demand for seafood safety and hygiene.

For the Government's part, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued a dispatch requiring the Fisheries Ministry, relevant ministries, sections and localities to tighten control of the use of banned chemicals and antibiotics in producing, processing and preserving aquatic products.

The fisheries sector has also given priority to the food safety and hygiene programme in order to obtain the target of an export value of 4-4.5 billion USD by 2010.

By the end of last year, 326 out of 484 large seafood production establishments met standards of food safety. Of them, 209 establishments have been permitted to export products to the EU market and more than 300 establishments to export products to the Republic of Korea, China and Russia.

Viet Nam's seafood is exported to 127 countries and territories with an export value estimated at 3.3 billion USD in 2006./.(VNA)
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