All catfish shipments to US subject to examination

Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017 15:07

Catfish processing at Hung Ca Company in Dong Thap province. - Photo VNA

All batches of products made from Siluriformes fish that are to be shipped to the United States will have to undergo food safety tests from August 2, 2017, instead of September 1.

The National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday sent this announcement to processors and exporters of Siluriformes fish, tra and basa fish in particular, after the department received a letter from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) through the US Embassy in Viet Nam.

Siluriformes fish includes tra, basa, tre and lang fish.

NAFIQAD advised exporters and processors to contact their US partners to follow the country’s new requirements.

FSIS announced that beginning August 2, all shipments of imported Siluriformes fish and fish products must be presented at an Official Import Inspection Establishment for re-inspection by FSIS personnel, according to the US Federal Register issued on July 3.

To apply for import re-inspection, applicants, typically the Importer of Record, must submit a paper or an electronic inspection application form to FSIS in ahead of the shipment’s arrival, but no later than when the entry is filed with the US Customs and Border Protection. The applicant must identify, on the application, the official import inspection establishment where re-inspection will occur.

FSIS also strongly encourages importers and brokers to communicate and coordinate closely with their respective FSIS District Office to facilitate full compliance prior to August 2.

According to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, the United States is a huge potential market for pangasius fish products, however, the market has anti dumping duty and technical standards that are too defensive and too strict, exceeding requirements on food safety control. Therefore, Vietnamese pangasius fish processors and exporters face many obstacles in exporting their products to the American market. In fact, there are only a few enterprises that have been able to export to this market.

These difficulties have made the United States lag behind China as the second largest importer of Vietnamese tra fish currently.

In the first four months of this year, Viet Nam’s total export value of tra fish to the United States stood at US$90.2 million, a year-on-year drop of 21.7 per cent. — VNS

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