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EU formalizes ban on Brazilian seafood imports

Trade bloc cites 'lack of information' from Brazilian authorities on public health concerns at processing sites

The European Union has issued a formal ban on Brazilian seafood products, citing health public health and hygiene concerns.

The development comes seven months after Brazilian authorities implemented a self-imposed ban on seafood exports to the EU.

The Brazilian industry was stung by scathing criticism from EU officials following a visit in September last year, particularly in relation to inspection of fish catches at Brazil's ports and some of the industry's processing methods.

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The EU now imposed its own ban after EU member states reported consignments of fishery products originating from Brazil were still being presented at the EU borders with certificates issued after the date of suspension.

"In light of these considerations, and in the absence of new information from the Brazilian authorities, there are no sufficient guarantees that any of the establishments authorized to export fishery products from Brazil to the Union fulfil the conditions of Article 12(2) of Regulation (EC) No 854/2004 and their products therefore constitute a risk for public health," an entry in the EU's official journal, dated July 11, stated.

"It is therefore appropriate to remove all establishments from the list of Brazilian establishments from which fishery products intended for human consumption can be imported into the Union," the journal entry continued.

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"In light of the risk to public health associated with their products, those establishments should cease to be authorized to export to the Union without delay."

The news is likely to dismay Brazil's aquaculture industry, which is just recovering from a damaging 11-day nationwide truckers strike in May and June that cut off feed rations to fish farms and forced the shutdown of processing plants.

Brazilian aquaculture exports to the EU are small, but the sector has consistently highlighted failure by EU inspectors to find hygiene issues at any of its plants.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian wild-caught fisheries industry continues to seek a solution to the issue.

"The sector is looking at alternatives for a proposal to present to the government to solve the problem," Cadu Villaça, technical director at Brazilian producers and processors association Conepe, told IntraFish.

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