Food Safety Export Agreement Signed By Ecuador

Press release: 25 September 2003

Ecuador, the largest source for farmed shrimps and prawns in the western hemisphere - ranking fourth in the world - is helping safeguard 250,000 jobs through an agreement with BSI Inspectorate to ensure that antibiotic levels are below the permitted maximum.

Earlier this month (8 September 2003), BSI Inspectorate Ecuador signed a food safety agreement with the Ecuadorian Government (Instituto Nacional de Pesca) for the antibiotic testing of all exported shrimp. Testing will be performed according to the EC and US food safety standards for imported shrimp.

The agreement will run for three years and has the support of the local aquaculture chamber and of the Ecuadorian shrimp exporters. Sergio Sanchez, vice president for foreign trade services at BSI Inspectorate, says:

"Maintaining these high standards in food commodities, such as shrimp, not only protects industries and helps global trade it also ensures the health and safety of consumers too. Our laboratory facilities, which use the latest testing equipment, can be relied upon to be completely independent and objective.

"This service will also ensure a vital step in the food traceability for imported shrimp to the EC and US markets."

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Notes to editors

  1. Ecuador exports approximately 105,000 metric tonnes of shrimp every year; 16% of the nation's total exports. The industry consists of 2,500 shrimp farms, 28 shrimp feed factories and 68 shrimp packing factories. This provides direct employment for 250,000 and indirect employment for up to one million people.
  2. Ecuador's shrimps are exported to 21 markets worldwide. The main markets are: USA (57%), Asia (11%), Europe (4%). In 2000 Ecuador exported 19,097 metric tonnes of shrimp to the US, rising to 22,171 metric tonnes in 2001.
  3. Producers have recently begun processing shrimps in a variety of ways, tailored to individual markets. For profitable Asian markets, such as Japan, they have started shelling, de-heading, deveining and butterflying the produce.