Care needed when selling to Japan – Vietnamese fish farmers told

Vietnamese seafood companies selling to Japan needed  to carefully study its  food safety and hygiene regulations if they are to increase sales, a  seminar in Ho Chi Minh City has heard.

Nguyễn Hoài Nam, deputy general secretary of the Việt Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers,  told the large gathering that Japan was  one of Vietnam’s three largest seafood export markets worth some  US $590 million in the first half of the year.

He said: “A significant improvement in quality and appreciation of the Japanese yen have been key reasons for a big rise in Vietnamese seafood exports to the market.

“Japan has always had stringent quality and food safety and hygiene regulations, especially  with antibiotics norms,  and these pose a challenge for seafood exporters, including those from Vietnam.”

Lê Anh Ngọc, deputy head of the seafood quality management office at the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, said Japan, unlike the US, EU, China and South Korea, did not require exporting countries to furnish a list of eligible exporting companies.Instead it directly inspects export consignments at the port of entry.

The seminar heard that Imports  likely to cause harm to health or products from the same country or manufacturer or processor found to have committed violations in the monitoring inspection were  immediately subject to an inspection order, with all imported food consignments likely to come under scrutiny.

Vietnam News said that according to this year’s plan for the seafood imported from Vietnam, most products  would be subject to guidance inspections, but some, including squid, shrimp, filefish and their simple processed products are subject to inspection of all consignments for certain antibiotics like Chloramphenicol, Enrofloxacine, and Sulfadiazine.

Prof Fumio Sakamoto of Kagoshima University said in some cases violations are not intentional and caused by the use of chemicals in neighbouring areas, which contaminate products in some aquaculture breeding areas in rivers and seas.

Management of the water environment and improvement in the social responsibility of businesses and communities in aquaculture breeding areas are very important for addressing this problem, he said.

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