By Son Nghia - By The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has proposed solutions to remove the difficulties for shrimp exporters as Japan is imposing stringent antibiotic control on Vietnamese shrimp.
Vietnamese agencies are urged to petition Japan for revision of food safety standards for local shrimp, according to the dispatch that VASEP sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and relevant agencies.
VASEP general secretary Truong Dinh Hoe said Japanese agencies in charge of testing antibiotic residues on imported seafood products had tightened their control and issued warning against Vietnamese shrimp.
In 2010, the percentage of seafood shipments subject to trifluralin tests upon arrival in Japan rose sharply. In 2011, Japan made more rigorous enrofloxacin check on shrimp imported from Vietnam, with the permissible residue level for Vietnamese products ten times lower than the European products.
As a result, Vietnamese shrimp exporters suffered great losses and difficulties in the past two years.
In 2012, Japan moves on to test ethoxyquin on Vietnamese shrimp. However, the same products imported from Thailand and Indonesia are not subject to such testing.
Starting from May 18, 2012, the ethoxyquin testing percentage for Vietnamese shrimp export shipments to Japan is 30%, with the permissible level of 0.01 parts per million (ppm), or 10 parts per billion (ppb).
VASEP informed ethoxyquin is not a harmful antibiotic. It is widely used as an antioxidant in fish meal and as a main component in animal feeds.
Developed countries like Japan allow the use of ethoxyquin in fish meal at a level of 75-150 ppm. Japan’s decision to impose the permissible ethoxyquin level of 10 ppb on Vietnamese shrimp is not based on any regulation or data of Japan.
Last Wednesday, Japan detected ethoxyquin residues on a shrimp shipment of a Vietnamese exporter and decided to check all shipments imported from this company in the coming time. The testing percentage remains at 30% for other Vietnamese exporters.
If Japan tested all shipments from Vietnam, there would be a great chance of Vietnam fishery losing this market. To protect the reputation of Vietnamese shrimp in the Japan market and help exporters avoid losses, VASEP proposed State management agencies responsible for seafood export to enhance diplomatic activities and international fight so that Japan will adjust the permissible threshold for ethoxyquin from 10 ppb to 100 ppb.