Reprinted from Caribbean Net News

Belize destroys uncertified fish from Asia
Published on Saturday, August 25, 2007

BELMOPAN, Belize: The Quarantine and Inspection Services of the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) recently confiscated and destroyed 4,492 pounds of fish originating from Asia. It was noticed upon inspection that the fish were not from the USA as stated on the permits presented for the importation but from Asian countries such as China, India and Vietnam.

The decision was taken to confiscate and destroy because the fish represented a high risk for the introduction of diseases to the aquaculture sector. The fish originated from countries that are not transparent in their reporting of fish diseases to international competent authorities, have no information as to their country status of internationally listed diseases and have limited oversight and interaction with their fish industry.

In 2006, BAHA issued 6,257 animal health and food safety permits. All applications for importations are screened by a Veterinary and/or Food Safety Officer with a risk analysis being performed for those commodities that represent a high risk due to our national favorable terrestrial and aquatic disease status. Thus, in 2006, six international site visits were conducted to verify inspection, approval and certification procedures and four documented risk analyses were conducted for commodities such as milk powder, duck meat, packaged bees and pork.

The results of the risk analysis and site visits are used to decide whether to allow the importation or not and to determine the risk mitigation measures that need to be implemented. As the risk analysis process begins with the applications for importation, importers are required to enter accurate and true data in the application forms. Failure to do this will result in confiscation by the Quarantine and Inspection Services, as in the present case.

In 2006, The Quarantine and Inspection Services confiscated over 106,500 pounds of high risk commodities, and refused entry into Belize a total of 90,000 pounds of commodities due to high pest infestation.


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