US food agency inspection an opportunity for Vietnamese tra fish

Thursday, Feb 27, 2020 05:28

Tra fish is processed at CASEAMEX in Mekong Delta Can Tho Province. — VNA/VNS Photo

Vietnamese tra fish imports will be inspected by the US’s Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) in early March, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has said.

The ministry said Viet Nam welcome the FSIS’s involvement to ensure Vietnamese tra fish hold up to the strictest of safety and quality standards, adding the US agency’s approval will likely provide tra fish with additional proof of excellence to enter other markets.

The MARD’s deputy minister Phung Duc Tien said tra fish met all the US agency's requirements in production, transport and processing during its inspections two years ago. Vietnamese businesses consider the March inspections an opportunity to bring quality of tra fish to higher standards and to enter the US market with zero tariffs, he said.

In preparation, the National Agro Forestry Fisheries Quality Assurance Department has conducted its own inspections of tra fish farms in the Mekong Delta.

Tran Dinh Luan, head of the Directorate of Fisheries, said inspectors monitored quality of water coming in and out of the farms, breeding areas in 10 cities and provinces in the delta as well as sanitary protocols for harvest, transport, storage and processing of tra fish.

By the end of last year, the delta was home to more than 200 tra fish farms with some 3,000ha of water surface for breeding, twice the figure reported in 2018.

In recent years, Vietnamese firms have made significant investments in improving the environment and technologies to ensure tra fish surpass the technical barriers of the EU, the US and Japan. Their efforts seem to have paid off as Vietnamese tra fish has steadily built a reputation for quality in international markets.

According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, the US’s Department of Commerce has allowed two additional Vietnamese firms – NTSF Fisheries JSC and CASEAMEX – to export tra fish to the US, bringing the total number of Vietnamese firms under the zero tariffs policy to four.

Truong Thi Le Khanh, chairwoman of Vinh Hoan Group – a major Vietnamese exporter of tra fish to the US – said safety and quality of the fish have been among the group’s top priorities for years to secure access to the market.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese firms said they have been on the lookout for other international markets while continuing to improve on the quality and safety of their tra fish. — VNS


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