Brazilian authorities’ claims to have found quality problems with Vietnamese tra imports and the consequent ban on said products has led Vietnam’s Agriculture ministry to check the quality of pangasius (tra fish) for export.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Luong Le Phuong said he was “really worried about the situation” and that he had asked quality control officials to check all pangasius shipments destined for Brazil.
MARD also asked for Vietnam’s commercial counselor and the Brazilian embassy in Vietnam to collaborate in the investigation so tra exports could return to normal.
Each and every fishery shipment, Phuong said, is being supervised according to Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) standards and other screening processes by the quality assurance department, reports Viet Nam Business News.
“Therefore, I think, the claimed problem is groundless for Vietnamese tra fish,” he argued.
Phuong as well as many companies have been worried that the negative publicity would affect other pangasius markets.
Exports to Egypt have steadily dropped since 2007 as a result of a rumour about contamination generated by a local paper. Although the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture later denied the rumor as baseless, it still impacted Vietnamese shipments.
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) addressed MARD in mid-August proposing a verification of news that the safety of pangasius shipments had been appraised by Brazilian officials.
Brazilian authorities claim the fish was farmed in an unsafe environment. Furthermore, since tra was cheaper than the white fish raised by Brazilian farmers, consumers prefer tra – which threatens Brazilian farmers and processors.
A delegation from the Brazil Department of Fishery will inspect hygiene and safety of Vietnamese aquacultures and seafood processing plants, VASEP said.
The move came after the Brazil National Council of Fishery Aquaculture and Exploitation (CONEPE) complained that they have lost control over tra fish, the Brazil’s major import from Vietnam.
The Brazilian Agriculture Ministry informed it would lift the ban once the Vietnam imports went through the Importation Threat Analysis programme, according to VASEP.
Brazil is not only a potentially large market for Vietnamese tra, but also considered a gateway to numerous other South American fish markets.