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USFDA norms to put India's marine export industry in peril
James Paul
30 August 2003

Kochi: The stringent norms notified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States for testing anti-biotic residue presence in seafood imports poses a severe threat to the Rs 6,790-crore marine products export industry in India.

According to sources in the Seafood Exporters' Association (SEA) in Kochi, the tough stand taken by the US on sanitary and phytosanitary norms, close on the heels of similar norms notified recently by the European Union, tends to be a non-tariff barrier to curb Indian seafood exports to the US.

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) is of the view that the US norms are on par with the EU norms. The US accounts for 25 per cent of the total seafood exports from India.

Japan comes second, accounting for 21 per cent of the seafood exports from India, followed by the EU, accounting for 20 per cent. Only last year did the US overtake Japan in regard to seafood imports from India. Shrimp is the major seafood imported by the US from India. In value terms, shrimp accounts for more than 60 per cent of the seafood imports from India.

Under the new FDA norms, samples will be tested for a limit of 0.3 particles per billion (ppb), which is the level fixed by the EU.

FDA is reported to have directed its field offices to test about 12 samples a week. The mandate is to sample the product flow so that the ratio of domestic to imported product will mirror market demand and supply.

The new norm is besides the already existing compliance programme for therapeutic drugs in seafood. Nitrofuran testing is not included in the new chloramphenicol assignment. But it is likely to be included in the larger compliance programme that will be issued later this year, the sources say.

send this article to a friend The EU had suspended licenses of five exporters about a year ago following detection of chloramphenicol in the consignments. However, this was later withdrawn.

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USFDA norms to put India's marine export industry in peril