Russians to visit Vietnam before deciding on seafood ban

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Russian officials are considering a ban on Vietnam's seafood imports and will visit the country later this year for inspections before a decision on the matter, a Vietnam official said.

The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia recently sent two statements complaining of worsening safety and hygiene among Vietnam's seafood imports, which have been found infested with fungi, colon bacterium and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which causes stomach flu.

Nguyen Nhu Tiep, head of product quality management at Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the agency will send people in April or May to check Vietnam's seafood processors and quality surveillance systems.

The visit will lead to a ban on Vietnam's seafood imports to Russia if the delegation finds no improvement in the making of the products.

Last week, Tiep said officials from Vietnam's traditional seafood customers the US, South Korea, and the European Union will also visit Vietnam this year to check seafood production.

These visits were planned after American and Japanese authorities warned of chemical and antibiotic residues in Vietnamese products, he said.

Vietnam's seafood exports stood at US$6.1 billion last year, up 21 percent from 2010, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors.

The country hopes to increase this to $10 billion by 2020 to become one of the four largest seafood exporters in the world.

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