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Ahmedabad, August 17, 2020
The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) has set up a Quality Control Laboratory in the coastal city of Porbandar in Gujarat, facilitating tests for seafood processors and exporters to confirm product safety as per international regulatory requirements.
The state-of-the-art laboratory, which was inaugurated by MPEDA Chairman K S Srinivas on Saturday, is equipped with advanced testing instruments such as ICP MS and LC MSMS to analyse antibiotic residues, heavy metals such as Cadmium, Lead, Mercury and Arsenic in seafood samples and Histamine in fishes like tuna and mackerel.
The facility, with all support systems for accurate results, has begun efforts to secure accreditation by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and the Export Inspection Council (EIC), a press release from MPEDA said.
Present at the inaugural ceremony over video-conferencing, besides Srinivas, were MPEDA Director M Karthikeyan, MPEDA Director (Marketing) T Dolasankar, Seafood Exporters Association of India president Jagdish Fofandi, its Gujarat region chief Piyushbhai Fofandi, MPEDA Authority Member Karshanbhai R Salet and B Sreekumar, Adviser, MPEDA.
Gujarat has relatively low instances of antibiotic residue in seafood exports, yet a number of cephalopod consignments are rejected overseas due to the presence of heavy metals, mainly cadmium. This prompted MPEDA, under the Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry, to set up a lab in Porbandar to test seafood samples, Srinivas said.
The state comes second only to Tamil Nadu in marine fish landings, contributing 7.49 lakh tonnes in 2019, as per CMFRI data. Gujarat is also making strides in shrimp farming, producing 73,842 tonnes of the product (from 9,709 hectares) and 1,890 MT of scampi.
During 2019-20, Gujarat exported 27,9750 MT of seafood worth Rs 5019.49 crore ($716.25 million). The major export items are frozen fin fish, frozen cephalopods, dried items and frozen shrimp in terms of quantity. Value-wise, fish is the principal item.
Gujarat’s major markets for seafood exports are China, European Union, South-East Asia, Japan and USA. The state is also a major exporter of surimi to markets, primarily Japan.
The weekend also saw MPEDA inaugurating its refurbished Quality Control Laboratory at Nayapalli in Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, ensuring high-precision tests using state-of-the-art equipment that can also detect banned antibiotics.
To guarantee quality seafood for world-wide export to consumers conscious of health and quality, MPEDA has set up labs also at Bhimavaram and Nellore (both in Andhra Pradesh) and besides Bhubaneswar and at the headquarter in Kochi (Kerala). These have facilities to test seafood samples for heavy metals, dyes, pesticides and antibiotic residues using advanced technology. Also, MPEDA has established 12 ELISA screening labs for monitoring residues of banned antibiotics from primary production to processing plants for export, the release added.
MPEDA, formed in 1972 under the Union Ministry of Commerce, is a coordinating agency with central and state-level establishments engaged in fishery production and allied activities.