Japan tightens inspections on shrimp shipments from Vietnam

By Vnexpress   December 21, 2016 | 08:13 pm PT
Japan tightens inspections on shrimp shipments from Vietnam
A man feeds shrimps at a farm in Vietnam's Mekong delta province of Ben Tre. Photo by Reuters
The island nation now screens every last shrimp export for a banned antibiotic.

Japan now screens every shipment of Vietnamese shrimp for a banned antibiotic, according to NAFIQAD Vietnam’s seafood quality control.

Vietnam does not consider the substance fit for use as a direct food additive in foods for human consumption, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) which reported that Japan raised its shrimp sampling from 30 to 100 percent of imports on December 12.

Local shrimp exporters have been warned to keep antibiotic sulfadiazine residues below 0.01 parts per million, said Le Hong Phong, deputy head of NAFIQAD.

By September, the E.U. had rejected 2.2 times more shrimp than the entire preceeding year, according to NAFIQAD, which called for special scrutiny of seafood coming out of the four central provinces affected by Taiwan Formosa Plastics Group's discharge of toxic waste in April.

The following month, the European Union reported having rejected 11 shipments of shrimp in the past nine months due to high levels of heavy metals. The European Commission Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed found the shipments contaminated with mercury and cadmium.

Vietnamese trade commissions in the EU, Japan, and the United States have received roughly 180 warnings about seafood contaminated with dangerous levels of antibiotic and chemical residues so far this year.

Australia, which remained Vietnam’s largest shrimp importer for the past five years, now requires every seafood shipment from Vietnam to be scrutinized for biological toxins and bacteria.

During the first eleven months of the year, Vietnam's seafood exports had edged up 6.9 percent from 2015 to nearly $6.4 billion, customs statistics showed.

At the start of the year, Vietnam announced plans to export $8 billion worth of seafood this year after reporting $6.6 billion in seafood exports in 2015.

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