Bhubaneswar, Feb 19 : A state of the art quality control laboratory to check traces of antibiotics in shrimps and other marine products was inaugurated here on Monday.
It would address concerns of USA, Japan and the European Union (EU) for stringent quality controls over exports of seafood from India.
Set up by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), the fifth such laboratory in the country is fully equipped to check presence of chloramphenicol and nitrofuran, the two banned antibiotics for which importers in US and Japan have particularly insisted for analysis.
Accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration and approved by Export Inspection Council of India under Laboratory Approval Scheme (LAS), the laboratory has started analysing Chloramphenicol and Nitrofuran metabolites in samples drawn under the National Residue Control Programme (NRCP) and those drawn from the market, said an official.
If any samples are screened positive in ELISA Labs at Bhubaneswar, Balasore and Sonarpur, these will be checked and confirmed at the quality control laboratory, which has also developed methodology for another antibiotic, retracycline, and its validation is under process.
"By setting up its laboratory in Odisha, MPEDA has met a longstanding demand from the seafood exporters.
Our seafood exporters have set global benchmarks. We must follow this benchmark which is going to lead the seafood sector in the next few decades," said Odisha's Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhal.
MPEDA Chairman A.
Jayathilak said there is a sustained demand from the industry to have a laboratory with the most modern equipment to identify the antibiotic residues up to the lowest and most microscopic levels.
"We have had some instances of presence of antibiotics in the past, especially the most commonly detected Chloramphenicol and Nitrofuran metabolites, and it has led to immediate response.
We pass on the information immediately down the stream to the exporters and the farmers but you need to have the best equipment and manpower in place for it," he noted.
Alongside, the lab is developing facilities for validation of sulphonamides.
After completion of testing facilities for tetracycline and sulphonamides, the lab will be fully ready for analysis of commercial samples meant for export to the EU also.
Currently, these substances are being tested at other QC laboratories of MPEDA.
At present, the QC Laboratory at Bhubaneswar can analyse samples submitted by farmers, processors and exporters as part of their quality assurance for residue free raw material for processing and exporting.