June 22, 2011


Vietnam's shrimp exports to Japan threatened by harmful additives



Vietnamese shrimp exporters to Japan have been seeking the help of state management agencies, citing the loss of the Japanese market if the agencies do not help in controlling the presence of harmful additives in aquaculture.


The call has been made by shrimp processing companies after Japan threatened to verify all the shrimp consignments imported from Vietnam.


Difficulties would force businesses to give up the Japanese market, the biggest shrimp export market for Vietnam, and shrimp exports account for the highest proportion in the total seafood export turnover of Vietnam.


According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), Japan is now making checks to verify the presence of trifluralin in all the shrimp consignments imported from Vietnam, and is also examining for the presence of enrofloxacin in 30% of the shrimp consignments imported from the Southeast Asian country.


The decision has been made after the alert system of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan announced it has discovered two imported consignments from Vietnam containing the anti-biotic residues exceeding the allowed levels. One of the two consignments was found as containing enrofloxacin at the concentration of 0.03 ppm.


Under the current Japanese laws, if Japan discovers one more consignment of imports which contains enrofloxacin residues, it will automatically raise the control level and will verify 100% of the imported consignments from Vietnam.


The warning has caused big worries to Vietnamese seafood exporters, who believe that antibiotics appear right in the farming process, not in the processing for export. If government agencies do not help in controlling the farming, seafood exporters will have to examine the input materials, which will cost them a lot of money, and force them to make heavy investments into the verification process.


In March 2011, the association sent a dispatch to the General Department of Fisheries, asking to immediately apply the measures to prevent shrimp from getting infected with antibiotics in aquaculture. This one done in anticipation of Japan raising the control of all import consignments.


Japan is the biggest shrimp export market for Vietnam. In 2010, Vietnam's shrimp export turnover to the market reached nearly US$900 million, an increase of 19% over 2009.

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