US targets Bangladesh over aquaculture safety fears

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union United states Food and drug administration

US food officials have sent a team to Bangladesh in a bid to boost the safety and quality of its aquaculture - much of which is exported to the west.

The panel from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) will be training Bangladeshi officials on aquaculture safety and quality control techniques.

The training will include lectures, demonstrations, site visits, and workgroup activities. Using a “train-the-trainer” model, those who successfully complete the program will be qualified to continue training others in their country on accepted “Good Aquacultural Practices.” The FDA and JIFSAN, supported by cooperative partnerships, also provide materials that allow the countries to continue the training programs.

Fast growing

Aquaculture is the fastest growing segment of agriculture world-wide, accounting for 52 per cent of all fish produced. In the US, about 85 percent of the seafood consumed is imported from more than 50 different countries. Of that amount, 40 percent comes from aquaculture operations, the other 60 percent from wild harvest.

“Collaborating with other countries in this way not only helps to improve the quality and safety of their domestic product, but also what they export to the United States and other countries around the world,” ​said FDA Deputy Commissioner for International Programs Murray M. Lumpkin, M.D.

Over the last 20 years, the aquaculture industry has grown by more than 11 percent each year. It is now the fastest-growing segment of agriculture worldwide, accounting for 52 percent of all fish produced. In the United States, about 85 percent of the seafood consumed is imported from more than 50 different countries. Of that amount, 40 percent comes from aquaculture operations, the other 60 percent from wild harvest.

EU concern

The European Union has expressed continued concern over the levels of some banned antibiotics such as nitrofuran in shrimp exports from the Indian subcontinent. Between January and July 2009 the EU rejected more than 50 shrimp consignments from the region after checks revealed the presence of antibiotic residues, heavy metals and bacteria.

The EU has threatened to introduce a mandatory testing programme for all shrimp shipments unless domestic testing and certification regimes in the host countries do not improve.

Related topics Food safety

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