China tightens Ecuadorian shrimp inspection requirements

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/14 15:34:55

File photo:VCG

Chinese customs on Friday tightened inspection requirements for frozen shrimp imported from Ecuador as seven Chinese cities have detected the novel coronavirus on Ecuadorian shrimp packaging since July.

Ecuadorian shrimp processing plants must receive approval from Ecuadorian authorities and a qualification from the Chinese side before they are permitted to export frozen shrimp to China, effective Friday, according to an inspection regulation issued by the General Administration of Customs on its website.

It also urged Ecuadorian shrimp plants to carry out virus testing for employees and establish safety metrics throughout the production chain, from the processing of raw materials to the transportation of final products. 

Products that do not meet Chinese requirements will be returned or destroyed. Enterprises with serious problems or those have repeatedly failed to meet the requirements could be banned from exporting to China, the statement said.

The inspection regulation was released one day after health authorities in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, reported the virus had been detected on the packaging of imported frozen Ecuadorian shrimp at a wholesale frozen food market.

As of Thursday, a total of seven Chinese cities have reported detecting the virus on the packing of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp since July, according to data compiled by the Global Times.

The other cities are Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province, Dalian in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, Pingxiang in East China's Jiangxi Province, Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, Wuhu in East China's Anhui Province, and a city in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Although frozen Ecuadorian shrimp products are still available on the market, many Chinese buyers have halted imports and the products have been removed from many shelves as surging numbers of COVID-19 cases have stalled consumer demand.

An employee from an import commodity trading center in Shanghai told the Global Times that Ecuadorian frozen shrimp was pulled as early as July.

"The product didn't sell. Due to the COVID-19 link and mounting media reports regarding the frozen shrimp, customers are not buying," he said.

Shrimp exports to China, Ecuador's biggest market, sank in July, according to the National Chamber of Aquaculture of Ecuador.

China imported 50,179 tons of shrimp from Ecuador in June, with a value of 1.89 billion yuan ($271.4 million), up from 29,175 tons and 1.08 billion yuan in May, statistics from the General Administration of Customs showed.


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