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Chilean fisheries plants inspected by EU experts

Friday, July 29th 2005 - 21:00 UTC
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Eco-oceans an environmental non government organization claims a European Union health and consumer inspection team which recently visited Chile, banned exports from four fish processing plants located in Puerto Montt.

Apparently the decision could also include two other plants where processing systems were considered not acceptable, but no names or exact locations were disclosed.

A EU team of seven experts from the Health and Consumer Protection Directorate, General Food and Veterinary Office, effectively visited Chile early July for twelve days inspecting processing plants, aquaculture farms, labs and port landings all of which are under sanitary surveillance and responsibility of the Chilean Fisheries Services, Sernasa.

Chilean Fisheries Director Sergio Mujica said that inspectors' visits are normal given the "globalization of the world economy, which forces the Chilean food industry to be more competitive, higher quality and with greater added value".

Chilean fisheries exports to the European Union last year reached 448 million US dollars.

Jose Miguel Burgos, head of Fisheries Sanitary Department said Europeans praised Chilean infrastructure and transparency, however he admitted Sernasa will reinforce sanitary control in plants exporting to EU and those which don't comply with the strict guarantees demanded by international standards "will be excluded".

Mr. Mujica added that even when Chilean fisheries produce has domestic and world quality recognition, requirements and standards are ever demanding "and in that context the EU visit was done".

"Chile now plays in the premier league and as such must comply with increasing requirements from EU, US, Japan and other markets. The government and private sector must implement all necessary measures to comply with sanitary standards of the European market", explained Mr. Mujica.

According to Eco-oceans, Sernasa refused to release the name of "the six processing plants that have been banned because of low health standards".

Categories: Mercosur.

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