November 6, 2019


Chilean aquaculture exports affected by processing plants' failure to meet conformity standards


During the first half of 2019, the UEE (Eurasian Economic Union) market represented 6.4% of the total Chilean fisheries and aquaculture exports.

Compared with the same period last year, this is a decrease of 17.6% in global terms.

There are currently 54 processing facilities in Chile that are registered for export to the Russian market and are sanitary certified by SERNPESCA, according to the rules of the Veterinary Service of the Russian Federation, Rosselkhoznadzor, one of the strictest in the world.

In 2019, six plants entered the temporary restriction regime for non-conformities detection. This means that they cannot export to the federation - as reported by the Russian health authority - due to detection of malachite green, nitrofurans and violet glass. In all these cases, an investigation was activated to determine the eventual origin of the contamination.

SERNAPESCA has carried out more than 150 product analyses from both the fish farming centers and the establishments involved in each case. None of them showed presence of prohibited substances. In addition, controls were carried out in farming centers as part of the Pharmaceutical Products Use Control Program, and in plants according to its Official Program for the Control of Residues of Pharmaceutical Products, Contaminants and Prohibited Substances.

This year, the various markets, including the United States, Japan, Brazil, Russia and China, have reported a total of 58 findings of non-conformities related to product safety. Of these, 36 -- that is, 62% -- correspond to the Russian market, concentrated between the months of August and September. For this reason, only in the last three months, five processing plants were temporarily restricted to export their products to that country. This represents a significant increase compared to 2018, when six nonconformities were notified.

In consideration of the importance of this market mainly for the aquaculture sector (salmon and plovers), negotiations were carried out with the health authority of the UEE. Thus, in response to the request previously made by SERNAPESCA, an audit visit has been arranged to evaluate the safety control system and the situation of the plants.

The visit was confirmed to take place between November 10 and 21.

In principle, the team of Russian inspectors said it would include a maximum of five processing establishments, but at the request of the service, Rosselkhoznadzor reported the incorporation of a total of ten establishments and two groups of inspectors.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, SERNAPESCA has reiterated the need for the Russian health authority to provide options and steps to follow for the incorporation of 16 establishments that remain in a pending situation with respect to the market.