The European Union has eased the rules of entry for shrimps from Bangladesh due to a significant decrease in the number of non-compliant consignments.
Exporters have been exempted from attaching analytical test reports with the shrimp consignments, which had been mandatory since 2008.
Analytical tests are carried out at government labs to make sure that shrimps are free from antibiotic and chemical hazards and safe for human health.
Now the tests will continue as before, but the exporters will no longer be required to attach the analytical reports with the shipments.
The EU carried out an audit in Bangladesh in April to evaluate the country's control mechanism against “residues and contaminants” in shrimps. The EU team also examined controls on veterinary medicinal products.
The audit report concluded that the system in place for aquaculture offers guarantees equivalent to the requirements laid down in the EU legislation, the EU said in a notice on December 3.
The relaxation came seven years after the EU had slapped a condition that export consignments from Bangladesh must be accompanied by analytical test results to ensure that the consignments did not present a danger to human health.
It had detected residues of veterinary medicinal products and unauthorised substances in shrimp consignments.
Exporters said they had to give various analytical tests reports related to the presence of antibiotics such as chloramphenicol, metabolites of nitrofurans and tetracycline with the shipped consignments to EU, where nearly 70 percent of Bangladesh's shrimp exports go.
“We will no longer need to provide such test certificates,” said SM Amzad Hossain, president of Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association.
But the government inspections will continue to ensure that only shrimps safe for human consumption are going to European markets, he said. “We are happy that they have put faith in us. This will improve our image,” Hossain said, adding that the prices of shrimps and the overall exports would rise after this EU notice.
Over the last one year, shrimp growers and processors have been suffering from losses owing to sluggish global demand for the country's black tiger shrimps amid ample supply of the vannamei variety.
Between July and November, shrimp exports from Bangladesh slumped 25 percent year-on-year to $206 million, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.