Indian fish and shrimp exports to the European Union will have to pass stringent health safety tests, according to the new rules of the European Commisson.
aquaculture products imported from India should undergo mandatory testing by the Member States for the detection of pharmacology active substances before those products are placed on the market," the Commission said in its 'official journal'.
The decision taken on July 8, comes following reports that antibiotics like nitrofurans, chloramphenicol and tetracyclines are used in the Indian aquaculture.
The residual of these substances in the fish or shrimp are known to be harmful for human health.
While it would be adviseable for the Indian exporters and fish farmers to get the tests done before the marine products are harvested, the costs could be high, Kochi-based Seafood Exporters Association of India said.
"A single test costs about Rs 1,500.
and they are very complicated.
It is very difficult for a farmer to do all the tests," association President Anwar Hashim said.
However, he added that Indian farmers have reduced the use of the anti-biotics.
"While last year, about 36 Indian consignments were rejected by EU, this year, till now, only 2-3 have been rejected," Hashim said.
Of the country's total aquaculture products exports, the 27-member EU accounts for about 35 per cent.
In 2009-10, India exported 104,000 tons of aquaculture products.