First hatchery in India gets antibiotic-free seed production certificate

Published on
May 5, 2021

India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has given a shrimp hatchery in Andhra Pradesh a certificate for its antibiotic-free seed production, MPEDA said in a statement on 27 April.

SVR Hatcheries was the first hatchery in India to get the SHAPHARI certification for its production following mandatory audits from MPEDA.

In Sanskrit language, SHAPHARI means “superior quality of fishery product suitable for human consumption.”

“SHAPHARI Certification of Hatchery scheme of MPEDA will help farmers to easily identify good-quality shrimp seed producer[s], whereas the certified hatcheries are benefitted by higher demand for their seeds among the farmers,” MPEDA Chairman Shri. K S Srinivas said in a press release.

Frozen shrimp was India's top seafood product last year, accounting for 50.58 percent of the country's seafood export volume and 73.21 percent of its export value (in U.S. dollars). However, occasional rejections of Indian shrimp by foreign customs inspeciton services due to the presence of antibiotic residues remains a concern for the industry, MPEDA said.

The SHAPHARI certification, along with the National Residue Control Programme (NRCP) and the national Pre-Harvest Test (PHT) initiative, can collectively help the industry tackle its antibiotic-residue problem, according to MPEDA.

The U.S. is India's biggest market for its shrimp, but in the first three months of 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected 33 shrimp entry lines for antibiotics. That nearly matches the FDA’s entire reported amount of 36 entry lines from 2020. It also puts the agency on track for its highest number of rejections since 2016.

Four companies, all from Asia, were responsible for six rejections in March alone, including an entry line from India's Apex Frozen Foods Pvt. Ltd. The Indian company’s shrimp were found being contaminated with nitrofurans and veterinary drug residues. The other companies with rejected entry lines were from Bangladesh, China, and Vietnam.

Photo courtesy of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA)

Contributing Editor reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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