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Brazil suspends fish exports to European Union

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply has temporarily suspended the export of fish to the European Union. The preventive measure comes into force on January 3, 2018 and will be accompanied by an action plan to answer the questions asked after the European auditors’ mission to Brazil in September 2017.

“The suspension will come into effect next Wednesday, January 3, at the same time as an action plan to respond to questions raised by the European Union following an inspection carried out in September 2017,” the ministry of agriculture said in a statement.

The move was aimed at preventing the EU itself from ordering a suspension, said Luis Rangel, the secretary of state in charge of fisheries. Rangel cited disagreements in food safety standards between Brazil and the EU.

“The EU veterinary inspection mission in September determined that the changes they had called for in previous visits had not been implemented,” the Brazilian union of agricultural inspectors said, citing its own concerns about “the fragility of the Brazilian inspection system.”

“The European Commission said the Brazilian fish production system had serious faults and deficiencies, especially in relation to the quality of our fishing vessels,” it said.

According to the ministry, European health authorities understand that fish are part of a single context, regardless of whether they are capture fish or farming species. The European Union audit focused on industries that processed capture fish for export.

Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture will ask the Europeans to separate the sanitary requirements of the capture fish from the aquaculture fish. The Brazilian government understands that they are different matrices, with different pollutants and risks, and can not be treated in the same way.

According to the Secretary of Agricultural Defense, Luis Rangel, the agricultural defense has always paid attention to fish from both the health and public health point of view, but this remains a heterogeneous sector. “The fish market needs to mature in matters of quality, guarantees and international respect, a status obtained by the other meats exported by Brazil,” he said in a note.

In the morning of today (26), Rangel talked about the measures with representatives of the Brazilian Association of Fish Farming (Peixe Br) and the companies Geneseas and Neptune. There is still no date for the resumption of fish export.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in 2016, Brazil exported US $ 33.1 million in fish. Until November 30, fish exports total US $ 21.8 million.