EU inspectors don’t tip hand after visiting Indian facilities

Published on
December 14, 2017

A European Union delegation recently completed its review of India’s seafood quality control regime, but didn’t reveal its conclusions.

The European Union team, composed of Markus Brunner, the team leader of the European Commission’s Directorate-General of Health, and commission member Maria Lyons Alcantara, was in India from 21 to 28 November, the New Indian Express reported.  They were hosted by representatives of India’s Exports Inspection Council (EIC) and the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). 

According to the Business Standard, Brunner and Alcantara visited the fishing landing centers at Paradip – considered the largest in India – as well as the processing units of Falcon Marine Exports and Shimpo Seafoods in Bhubaneswar, the Magnum Seafood Pvt Ltd. in Puri, brackish-water fish farms in Astaranga, and seafood testing labs in Chennai.

The team also met with Odisha State Chief Secretary AP Padhi and “expressed satisfaction over the quality of aquaculture products” from the state, while saying there is a need for more preprocessing centers, according to the Orissa Post. Currently, there is only one pre-processing center is functioning at Dhamra in Bhadrak district. 

The Business Standard reported the E.U. team was evaluating the performance of Indian authorities and other authorized entities in their implementation of official controls concerning residues and contaminants in live animals and animal products eligible for export to the E.U. It was also inspecting products to ensure that they do not contain antibiotic, pesticide, or other contaminating residues at concentrations in excess of EU maximum limits, the news site reported. The E.U. team was to submit its report soon after the conclusion of its visit, the New Indian Express reported.

The European Commission is currently conducting a review of the Indian inspection process and is considering a total ban on Indian seafood product imports. It recently increased the percentage of seafood imports from India that must go through inspection from 10 percent to  50 percent, after finding repeated violations of its standards for contamination.

Odisha, one of India's highest-producing seafood regions, is particularly exposed to  barriers to trade with the E.U. Its seafood exports to the E.U. have risen from around INR 820 million (USD 12.7 million, EUR 10.7 million) during 2012-13 to INR 1.5 billion (USD 23.2 million, EUR 19.6 million) in 2016-17.

Apart from the E.U., Odisha also exports aquaculture products to Japan, the U.S., and the Middle East. In 2016-17, the total value of seafood export from Odisha state has thus far reached around INR 22.05 billion (USD 341.71 million, EUR 287.32 million) against INR 9.1 billion (USD 130.72 million, EUR 118.31 million) in 2012-13. 

Reporting from Mumbai, India

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