The Fisheries Department deputy director-general (operations) Suhaili Lee expressed that if the audit went well, seafood exports to EU would resume in March. The EU imposed a ban on Malaysian seafood in June following a visit by its Food and Veterinary Office and Malaysian health authorities at seafood processing companies, facilities, landing ports, fishing vessels, and farms.
It is told that the team was scheduled to conduct an audit in October but the visit was postponed because certain monitoring procedures, facilities and infrastructure such as landing areas in ports were not ready. Suhaili told that they have given the indication that we are ready for a re-inspection. If all goes well, approval can be obtained within a month after the re-auditing, says Suhaili.
According to Suhaili the re-audit would only involve companies that export their seafood products to Europe. He also told that the companies had taken the necessary measures to upgrade and improve their procedures and facilities to meet the standards and was confident that they would be given the green light. He pointed out that it is the opportunity to engage four to five specialists from the World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to help with upgrading and improving the procedures and facilities.
Malaysia had voluntarily de-listed its seafood products and was not banned by the EU following a visit in April by the EUs FVO and Malaysian health authorities. Suhaili said that there is a need for the country’s seafood industry to comply to the international standards on food safety and hygienic procedures as other countries have started to feel a bit reserved about our products.