US suspends new Vietnamese catfish exporter's registration
The move follows a message sent to the National Agro, Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD) by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), reporting a number of regulations relevant to the export of Siluriformes fish to the United States.
FSIS is conducting an evaluation of the Vietnamese food safety control system on Siluriformes fish. Once completed, FSIS will consider adding new businesses to the list of qualified exporters.
According to the United States’ 2014 Farm Bill, which came into effect in March this year, catfish exports will fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of FSIS and not the US Food and Drug Administration.
Under the bill, Vietnamese tra fish exports and many other Siluriformes fish products have had to struggle with the USDA’s final inspection rule.
The final regulation, released by FSIS, will be applied on both locally raised and imported Siluriformes fish.
From March 2016, an 18-month transitional implementation period for both domestic and international producers will begin. Therefore, FSIS’s regulations will be wholly applied from September 2017.
During the 18-month transitional implementation period, FSIS will only allow those Vietnamese businesses which previously exported Silurifomes fish products to this market.
Director of NAFIQAD Nguyen Nhu Tiep said FSIS required all businesses processing Siluriformes fish products for the United States market, from slaughtering, filleting, freezing to packaging, to have their names included on the list of businesses eligible for export to the North American country, released on the FSIS website.
Tiep said NAFIQAD had sent a proposal asking FSIS to avoid applying this rule for all Vietnamese processing units, instead, making it applicable only for those businesses that were executing the final processing phase before exporting the fish products to the United States. As for the remaining units, NAFIQAD would be in charge of examining and certificating food safety conditions.
While waiting for the FSIS’s reply, NAFIQAD said processing businesses and exporters should buy Siluriformes fish products from units which had already been included on the eligible list released on the FSIS website.
Vietnam, currently, has 60 businesses eligible for exporting Siluriformes fish products to the United Stated, mentioned on the FSIS website.