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Canned mackerel. (Photo: Obli/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chinese canned seafood can re-enter Peruvian market

Click on the flag for more information about Peru PERU
Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 02:10 (GMT + 9)

Canned fish produced in China can now be re-sent to the Peruvian market after having been banned from import for eight months following the finding of parasitic worms inside tinned mackerel.

In addition to the suspension of imports, Peru filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the Chinese authorities.

After the Peruvian government decided in November last year to suspend imports of canned fish from China, a commission of Peruvian technicians travelled to that country to know the origin of the problem.

According to SANIPES executive director Ernesto Bustamante, during the inspection of the canning plants and the handling process for the export of their canned products, two relevant problems were detected.

On the one hand, it was observed that the cleaning process of the fish was not adequate, due to the fact that automated processes are not used and the  the viscera are removed together with the head, without making any transversal cut and additional cleaning.

"The parasites were possibly found in the viscera but without proper cleaning it was not possible to remove them," Bustamante explained to Gestión.

On the other hand, Peruvian technicians saw that the sanitary inspection process was not conducted at random, as it should be. Thus, for some countries, as in the case of Peru, the green channel was always provided, which implies that "it never went through any subsequent inspection".

After the visit of the technical team, SANIPES sent a report to the Government of China, in which the flaws observed were detailed and the pertinent changes were requested, as a condition to be able to lift the suspension on the import of canned products and to withdraw the complaint before the WTO

In the note two important requests were made: that the process of cleaning the viscera must be performed with a cross section and with additional water, and that all the import of canned seafood for Peru must always go through the red channel, that is to say, that a sanitary inspection must be carried out in China.

The Government of China responded to the requirements of Peru and promised that the mechanism for fish cleaning would be performed as SANIPES had requested, and that all shipments to the Peruvian market would go through a review by the health authority.

With this, the case was reviewed and SANIPES withdrew the complaint to the WTO and lifted the suspension on imports to Peru.

Bustamante confirmed that since July 1, canned fish from China can be imported, but no request has been received to date.

In case an import takes place, SANIPES director assured that they will check all shipments arriving in the country from China, and that they will not rely solely on local certifying companies, as it happened in the past.

Related articles:

- SANIPES prohibits canned fish imports from China
- SANIPES advises against consuming canned mackerel from Shandong Hongda Group
- New technical standards implemented to improve canned fish control

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