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Shrimp processing. (Photo: Stock File)

British importers warn EU may impose a ban on Indian shrimp imports

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Thursday, August 24, 2017, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

Shrimp importers in the United Kingdom have warned the Indian Government of an imminent ban on seafood exports from the country by the European Union (EU).

The warning that the European market could be closed to the Indian aquaculture shrimp within two-three months was stated in a letter British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) chief executive officer John Hyman sent to Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Business Standard reported.

“During a very productive meeting on August 8, 2017, with Sarvesh Rai of the Indian Mission to the EU, we were informed that India has undertaken several steps to satisfy the European Commission. The indications we are receiving from the commission are that these are not enough,” the letter reads.

The EU is apparently unhappy due to increasing incidences of traces of antibiotics being found in seafood products from India. In 2016-17, the EU accounted for 18 per cent of the USD 5.78-billion seafood exports from India.

In addition, BFFF president has urged the Indian minister to redouble efforts to appease the commission and to prevent the ban. It has also asked India to overhaul the aquaculture export safety system and has also offered its expertise and perspective to resolve the issue.

Last year, the EU had strengthened its inspection norms for aquaculture products from India. Earlier, the norm was to test samples from at least 10 per cent of the consignments and it was raised to 50 per cent in 2016.

Trade sources said there has been an increase in the number of rejections of Indian shrimp because of the presence of antibiotics. The EU is also believed to be directly banning factories whose products have been rejected.

According to BFFF president, there is a real risk that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will look closely at the outcome of the European Union’s review, might review its own import procedures from India. The EU and the US together account for USD 1.5 billion of aquaculture shrimp exports from India.

 
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