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Australia to impose new import regulations on shrimp products

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Employees process shrimp for export at a Minh Phu Seafood Corporation plant in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau. Uncooked shrimp and shrimp products exported to Australia will have to be deveined, under a new regulation that will take effect on July 1 – PHOTO: VNA
HCMC – Uncooked shrimp and shrimp products exported to Australia will have to be deveined, under a new regulation that will take effect on July 1.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has released new import conditions for uncooked shrimp and shrimp products for human consumption imported by Australia, according to the Vietnam Trade Office in Australia.

Products of this kind shipped to Australia on or after July 1 must be certified by the competent agencies, declaring that they have been deveined during processing. Deveining requires the removal of the shrimp’s digestive tract to at least the last shell segment.

The shrimp products will continue to undergo a 100% intact seal inspection on arrival in Australia.

If uncooked shrimp fail to meet the new import regulations, they will be redirected for cooking, re-export or disposal.

According to the Australian authority, the new import regulations are intended to mitigate the biosecurity risk related to Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP), a microsporidian parasite that can cause retarded shrimp growth. Deveining is considered the most effective way to reduce the load of EHP spores that may exist in infected shrimp.

The current import requirements, including the removal of shrimp heads and shells, have yet to eliminate the biodiversity risk for EHP.

The new changes do not apply to cooked, highly processed, battered and crumbled or Australian-origin shrimp products that have been processed at the department-approved Thai Union facility.

Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), noted that batches of uncooked shrimp products exported to Australia must be certified by the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department, or Nafiqad, as being deveined.

The new changes will affect local shrimp exporters as most local shrimp and shrimp products exported to Australia are uncooked, Hoe added.

Data from VASEP showed that Vietnam’s shrimp exports to Australia maintained an upward trend in recent years, with outbound sales rising from US$113 million in 2015 to US$127 million last year. Australia is the seventh largest buyer of Vietnamese shrimp, accounting for 3.8% of Vietnam’s total shrimp export value.

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