Agri Business

CCMB suggests disinfecting seafood shipments to China using protocols

V.Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on September 30, 2021


MPEDA seek assistance on rising incidents of Covid nucleic material detections

The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, has suggested that seafood exports from India to China be disinfected by following a protocol to avoid Covid-19 nucleic acid in the consignments.

The CCMB has come up with the solution after Indian seafood shipments were increasingly detected with the Covid-19 material by the Chinese authorities over the last few months. The detection had prompted Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) to approach the National Institute of Virology, Pune, Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar and Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad for measures to resolve the crisis.

CCMB recommendations

CCMB has recommended using one per cent sodium hypochlorite to completely remove SARS CoV-2 from both cardboard and LPDE (low density polyethylene) surfaces so that no SARS-CoV-2 RNA traces are found detected in RT-PCR tests conducted by Chinese and other importing countries’ authorities.

“It is important to ensure that the spray covers the entire surface of the packaging material for complete removal of the viral material. The material should be left untouched/ undisturbed for some time so that the hypochlorite performs its function and doesn’t get removed,” CCMB scientists said.

All seafood processing units have been requested to follow the recommendations to alleviate the risk of detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA traces on packaging material.

The handling of such disinfected cartons should be carried out following Covid-19 preventive protocols, and only by vaccinated workers with both doses, and confirmed Covid negative by appropriate means to ensure that there is no contamination during stuffing of containers.

The reports of detection and subsequent suspension of Indian seafood processing establishments by the General Administration of Customs China (GACC) continue to plague India’s marine products to China.

So far, 51 units have been suspended indefinitely and three temporarily by the GACC from exporting to China. The Export Inspection Council has submitted a list of 15 units to the GACC for virtual inspection by the Embassy of India, Beijing and five companies are getting ready for virtual inspection, official sources said.

The target fixed for marine exports for the current fiscal was $7.83 billion. The year-on-year trend of export for the first quarter of 2021-22 indicates a 23 per cent increase in dollar value terms. However, the sector needs to grow by 31 per cent to reach the targeted export figure.

“We are hopeful that in the coming months, the gaps in the growth rate can be bridged to achieve the target figure,” KS Srinivas, Chairman, MPEDA said.

MPEDA has also reached out to Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Portugal through buyer-seller meets. During the bilateral meeting with Thai importers, the Indian Mission in Bangkok was requested to take measures to lift the ban imposed by Thai authorities on Indian farmed shrimp for the presence of Myonecrosis Virus as it could help boost export of farmed shrimps to Thailand for further processing and consumption, the sources added.

Published on September 29, 2021

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