Import of bivalve molluscs from Chile to the European Union has been authorised. (Photo: Sernapesca)
Brussels approves import of live bivalve molluscs from Chile
Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
The European Union (EU) authorised the import of live bivalve molluscs from Chile after finding that health checks and certifications in force are respected in the Community.
The decision adopted by the EU's executive branch, which has been published this week in the EU Official Journal, amends Annex I of Decision 2006/766/EC as regards the import from Chile in the list of countries from which the import of live, chilled, frozen or processed bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and gastropods is authorised for human consumption.
Between 26 April and 6 May, 2010, a group of delegates from the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), under the Directorate General for Health and Consumer Protection (Sanco) of the EU, travelled to Chile in order to in situ assess the control system governing the bivalve mollusc production intended for export to the European community.
The European inspectors audited the offices of the National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca) and visited processing plants, artisanal and industrial vessels, landing sites, farms and laboratories.
After that inspection and the guarantees provided by the Chilean government, the European Commission (EC) concluded that "the implemented conditions in that third country for live bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods intended for export to the EU are equivalent to those set in relevant legislation of the Community body."
"The restrictions on EU imports of bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods coming from Chile should, therefore, cease to be implemented," the EC added.
Until the new legislation enters into force, the EU could only admit the import of frozen and processed bivalve molluscs of Chilean origin.
In 2010, the delegation was divided into two groups that travelled separately to conduct inspections at the offices of Coquimbo, Los Lagos, Aysén and the Metropolitan Region.
Each group was accompanied by professionals of the National Fisheries Department of Fisheries Health and staff of the respective local offices.
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By Analia Murias