In a massive relief to the seafood exporters who were reeling under the hard days of business in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has completely lifted inspection of Indian Black Tiger shrimps after the export consignments of this delectable prawn variety were found totally free from any residue of synthetic anti-bacterial drug furazolidone.
The decision in this regard was conveyed by Food Inspection and Safety Division of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) to the Indian Embassy in Japan, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and Export Inspection Council of India.
The MHLW had earlier reduced import inspection sampling frequency for Black Tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) to 30 per cent from the 100 per cent through a notification issued on March 25 this year. Since there were no detections of furazolidone in further export consignments of farmed Black Tiger shrimp from India, Japan decided to provide complete relaxation in inspection of import sampling frequency in tune with Section 3, Article 26 of its Food Sanitation Act.
The MHLW, through its letter of December 1, also conveyed that the chiefs of Quarantine Station had been informed that the Inspection Order related with furazolidone on Indian cultured Black Tiger shrimp is completely lifted, and the item would only be subjected to the regular internal monitoring plan, which is mandatory for all the food items distributed in Japan.
A two-member expert team had surveyed the Black Tiger shrimp hatcheries, farms, and processing units that exported the variety during 2-6 March 2020 ahead of the initial order. Welcoming the order, MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas said it would boost the morale of Indian seafood exporters who are battling various trade and logistic issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that adversely affected the seafood markets abroad.
“MPEDA has been raising the request to exempt Black Tiger from import inspection for antibiotic residue at various platforms. The decision by Japanese authorities will further enhance the farming and export of Black Tiger variety, especially from the states like West Bengal and Kerala,” he added.
Srinivas also pointed out that MPEDA’s new Multispecies Aquaculture Complex (MAC) at Vallarpadam in Kochi has been making sustained efforts to revive the production of Black Tiger shrimps by supplying its healthy seeds to the farmers, who are quite satisfied with it as it exhibits better growth and survival at field level.
Black Tiger shrimp, commonly known as the giant tiger prawn or Asian Tiger shrimp, is a popular seafood delicacy the world over and also forms an important segment of India’s marine products export basket. Japan consumes nearly 40 per cent of India’s Black Tiger shrimp exports, while it enjoys niche markets in the EU and USA.