Vietnamese businesses are being urged to meet new standards set by the US government to maintain the growing shrimp export industry.
According to an information source from Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is focusing on testing for antibiotic residue in the country’s shrimp imports. By the end of February 2015, the FDA had refused to import 107 lots of shrimp, up 224 per cent compared to the same period in 2014 and the highest increase of rejected shrimp in over ten years.
Malaysia had the highest quantity rejected with 70 lots, skyrocketing from six in the same period of last year. India, Vietnam and China also had rejected products, with the presence of banned antibiotics the main cause. 75 per cent of shrimp was rejected due to residue of nitrofuran and veterinary drugs.
In addition to antibiotics, the FDA has also enhanced microbiological testing recently. A supplier said that it is not surprised it has tightened its controls as the EU and Japan recently upgraded their import standards.
Earlier, VASEP also repeatedly urged businesses to "say no to shrimp impurities." The association also suggested businesses not buying or processing impure shrimp and asked to be notified about any violations.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development’s statistics, Vietnam’s shrimp exports in 2014 was an estimated $4.1 billion, accounted for 52 per cent of total seafood exports and an increase of 25 per cent compared to 2013. The US was also the largest market for importing shrimp from Vietnam with turnover of over $1billion during the last year.