Defending the import of Basa

Wednesday, 22 February, 2006

The President of the Seafood Importers Association of Australia has publicly stated that imported seafood is safe, despite media reports that suggest otherwise.

Foodservice operators, buyers and chefs shouldn't be concerned about the hygiene standards or food safety record of seafood imported from Asia, including what has become one of Australia's most popular species " Basa.

After a recent story on Channel 7's Today Tonight program about fish farming in Vietnam, Harry Peters, President of the Seafood Importers Association has spoken publicly.

"The report was deliberately misleading in its inexpert opinion of water quality and fish farming conditions in the Mekong River," Peters said.

He said the deception was augmented footage of heavily populated waterways in urban areas, and disgusting conditions in some abandoned ponds and very small scale river pens where fish are grown for local consumption.

Peters said the images shown had no relation to the nation's multi-billion dollar basa export industry that now supplies fish to extremely fastidious importing markets such as Japan, Canada, the US and Europe, as well as Australia.

"Basa from Vietnam is currently supplied to a market of over a billion people daily," he said. "It is part of an enormous global trend in food supply, and the trade simply wouldn't exist if the conditions shown were in any way typical of Asia's export food production."

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