Japan raises residual limits for Ethoxyquin

Brining much relief to Indian shrimp exporters, Japan has raised the minimum residual limit (MRL) for Ethoxyquin in shrimps to 0.2 ppm (parts per million). [Ethoxyquin, is a key anti-oxidant used in shrimp feed.] This had brought a closure to the 18-month long protracted struggle between Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the Japanese authorities.

Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Leena Nair, Chairperson, MPEDA said, “India has always been conscious of the limitations of using excessive Ethoxyquin and had adhered to standards. Japan’s raising the limit is a vindication of standards India has been following, and is a relief to farmers and exporters.”

In August 2012, Japan’s Food Safety Commission had lowered the permissible limit of Ethoxyquin in Shrimp exports from India and Vietnam to a default level of 0.01 ppm.

The default standard had led to rejection of consignments from India. MPEDA had contested the move on grounds that it had no scientific validation and would adversely affect the farmers.

A statement from MPEDA said the MRL for crustaceans has been fixed at 0.2 ppm.

“The committee of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has approved to fix a MRL of 0.2 ppm in crustaceans including farmed shrimp. The MRL was notified on December 2, 2013 for public comments in Japan, besides was also placed in WTO,” read the statement.

According to MPEDA, India occupies the third place in shrimp exports to Japan, next only to Vietnam and Indonesia.