India has asked the European Union (EU) not to ban or blacklist any seafood exporter immediately if a problem is found with only one consignment, as this extreme measure hurts the entire sector.
"EU should issue a warning to the exporter and give it reasonable time to remove the inadequacies before delisting the company," said A Jayathilak, Chairman of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), while chairing the EU-India shrimp dialogue organized in association with the Embassy of the Netherlands, PTI reported.
Jayathilak also emphasized that blacklisting was unfair, because it destroyed the exporters' reputation built over several years and jeopardized their investments in the business, besides the livelihood of lots of farmers.
Furthermore, he also questioned the EU's decision to increase the size of samples of Indian seafood subject to analysis, from 10 percent to 50 percent, while the European block has kept the 10 percent threshold for other countries.
Export Inspection Council (EIC) director S K Saxena regretted the implementation of both measures, despite the fact that the quality control mechanism had been tightened further in the last two years.
In his opinion, some of the blacklisting was done on the basis of miniscule variations from the food quality benchmark. He also said that he wanted relisting to take place in suitable cases within a short time.
A shrimp farmer representative suggested that quality tests should be conducted at the farm level rather than in processed products, as sometimes farmers were blamed in cases where the processing sector was at fault.