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Higher seafood standards sought   2010-06-17 - VNS

Tam Long Da Mi Joint Stock Company's workers harvest sturgeon in Binh Thuan Province. Vietnamese seafood businesses must apply international standards for growing seafood products. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung

Tam Long Da Mi Joint Stock Company's workers harvest sturgeon in Binh Thuan Province. Vietnamese seafood businesses must apply international standards for growing seafood products. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung

Vietnamese seafood businesses must apply international standards to meet the import requirements of large markets, according to the international certification agency Bureau Veritas Viet Nam.

The standards include Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Global Partnership for Good Agricultural Practice (Global GAP), environmental management system ISO 14001 and International Food Standard, said training director of Bureau Veritas Viet Nam Do Thi Lan Nhi during a recent seminar in HCM City.

Nhi said the certificate would help increase companies' competitiveness in domestic and foreign markets and ensure customer trust.

"Viet Nam needs to invest more in training seafood farmers and producers in producing hygienic, safe products in the breeding, processing and trading sectors," she said. "Quality guarantees would be assured with standards like HACCP and others."

Large import markets such as Europe, the US and Japan have strict requirements on food safety and quality as well as product origin. Many products must also be environmentally friendly.

The ISO 14001 certification includes requirements on sustainability and environmental protection.

Do Thanh Muon, seafood manager of Bureau Veritas Viet Nam, said the Global Gap standard was used for many kinds of agricultural products, including seafood.

The certificate is reassurance that food has reached an accepted level of safety and quality and has been produced sustainably, respecting the health, safety and welfare of workers and the environment, as well as animal welfare issues.

The Global Gap certificate demonstrates to clients, including retailers, product traders and importers, that good agricultural or fish farming practices have been used.

Having the certificate also reduces the need for inspections of farms because major retailers recognise the certificate's validity.

Laurent Galloux, seafood manager of Bureau Veritas Viet Nam, said that European importers recognised that the certificates increased conformity along the supply chain. Traceability from farm or fishing boat to shop could also be done.

"The quantity delivered and product quality are also assured", he added.

According to the Viet Nam Seafood Exporters and Producers Association, in the first five months of the year the country exported 248,834 tonnes of tra catfish worth US$533 million.

The EU was the largest import market of tra catfish, with 87,758 tonnes worth $203.8 million, an increase of 9.7 per cent in volume and 2.3 per cent in value over the same period last year.



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