India wants EU to warn seafood exporters before blacklisting
India has urged the European Union not to ban or blacklist any seafood exporter immediately after finding problems with just one consignment as this extreme step worked against the interests of all the stakeholders.
EU had rejected a few Indian seafood consignments on quality issues and had increased sampling to 50% from 10% last year.
"EU should issue a warning to the exporter and give them reasonable time to remove the inadequacies before delisting the company," A Jayathilak, chairman of Marine Products Export Development Authority (Mpeda), said while chairing the EU-India shrimp dialogue organized in association with the Embassy of the Netherlands.
Instant blacklisting was unjust as this also destroyed the exporters' reputation built over several years and jeopardized their huge investments in the cost-intensive business besides the livelihood of lakhs of farmers, he said.
He also described as unfair the EU's decision to increase the sample size from 10 per cent to 50 per cent for testing the seafood consignments from India, while keeping it at 10 per cent for other exporting countries.
Endorsing Jayathilak's pleas, SEAI general secretary Elias Sait said the sample size was being kept at 10 per cent even for Vietnam and Bangladesh whose consignments also failed the food safety tests.
Wojciech Dziowrski, counsellor for health and food safety for the EU delegation to India, countered this view citing the number of samples tested positive from India and these two countries. But Sait argued that these countries could not be compared in terms of failed sample numbers as India's volume of export was quite high and the sample size was five times higher.
Export Inspection Council (EIC) director S K Saxena regretted that the twin-blow — instant ban and 50 per cent sample size — was in place despite the fact that the quality control mechanism had been tightened further in the last two years. He wanted the relisting to take place in suitable cases within a short time.
In response to concerns raised by seafood associations of Kerala and West Bengal that a number of companies delisted by EU due to wrong testing by labs in importing countries he suggested that exporters convince the importing companies in EU to get the failed samples tested in one more lab to prevent wrong rejections.
The session was part of the three-day 21 st India international seafood show 2018 organised jointly by MPEDA and Seafood Export Association of India (SEAI) that concluded on Monday .