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Qatar Bans Indian Seafood Ahead of FIFA World Cup

Qatar has temporarily banned Indian seafood imports after microbial contamination was found in some consignments.

Yash Saxena
Doha discovers dangerous bacteria in shipments bans Indian seafood
Doha discovers dangerous bacteria in shipments bans Indian seafood

According to industry sources, this follows a nationwide quality check conducted by the Qatar administration ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which begins this weekend. Bacteria were detected in two or three shrimp consignments in October, prompting the suspension of all marine product shipments to that country.

Officials from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) have raised the issue with Qatar's public health authorities, and discussions to lift the suspension are underway.

According to industry sources, six Indian exporters' shrimp consignments were found to contain harmful bacteria. The West Asian market is extremely sensitive to such issues, and it has come as a complete surprise.

The Ministry has urged all consumers that if they have recently purchased fresh or frozen Indian shrimp in the last three days, they should immediately return them to the outlets, and if they are unable to do so, the shrimp should not be consumed. The Ministry also urged consumers to visit their local health centre if they consumed such shrimp and experienced symptoms of gastro-intestinal infection.

However, officials from the Seafood Exporters Association of India (SEAI) maintained that Qatar had agreed to lift the ban on the condition that marine product consignments from India be certified by the Union government's Export Inspection Agency (EIA).

Jagdish Fofandi, National President of SEAI, told the media that “An internal agreement has been reached between the two countries to resolve the issue. Export inspection agencies in all countries are typically the nodal agencies for conducting such investigations.”

"Following the incident, we responded quickly by using all available resources to ensure that there was no lapse in quality. We're now waiting for exports to resume," he explained.

MPEDA officials stated that they have already issued a show cause notice to the affected exporting firms, and it is understood that EIA has temporarily suspended exports from these units.

Officials stated that the exporting agency will not compromise on product quality as a key pillar of market promotion activities. Last year, India exported 4,000 tonnes of seafood to Qatar, earning $25 million in revenue, according to officials.

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