Eastern oysters. (Photo Credit: Diane Murphy, CCCE)
FDA reauthorizes bivalve mollusc exports to the U.S.
Monday, February 24, 2014, 00:30 (GMT + 9)
Exporters of bivalve molluscs from Baja California resumed activities on Wednesday after nearly seven months since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closed the entry of products to the U.S. market.
It is estimated that after the decree issued in August 2013 by the FDA, 500 tonnes of eastern oysters failed to be exported each month, which affected more than 30 companies that had to suspend operations.
The closure of the borders imposed by the U.S. due to inconsistencies in surveillance or safety protocols, had a strong impact on eastern oyster producers of San Quintin and Rincon Ballenas.
After the audit performed by FDA on support laboratories of the Mexican Shellfish Health Program (PMSMB) in Tijuana, authorities conducted a reassessment in each of the departments, which made it possible to assign the "open" status.
The chairman of the State Committee on Aquaculture Health and Safety of Baja California (CESAIBC), Sergio Guevara Escamilla, stressed that they are seeking to avoid a new border closure, and added that at one week from the reopening of the areas classified for export, gradual reactivation of harvest, processing and shipping could be seen.
In this process, the head of the entity met with representatives of various federal and state agencies and highlighted the commitment of the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) to support the certification of CESAIBC lab, by signing an agreement with the international certification company SGS, which is headquartered in Switzerland and has offices and laboratories in Mexico.
Under that agreement, both agencies will allocate specialized personnel to develop a diagnosis of that laboratory, in order to establish a critical path on the way to its operation, in support of the PMSMB.
Moreover, Ficotox lab, under the Scientific Research and Higher Education Centre (CICESE), has become the third authorized lab and is about to join the PMSMB, validated by FDA.