The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) have strongly objected to footage broadcasted by a Spanish TV which criticised the quality of Vietnamese tra fish.
Vietnamese tra fish have faced foreign media accusation of bad quality and substandard breeding methods continuously since 2011
VASEP expressed its opinion in a document sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, urging the ministry to take urgent actions to protect the image of Vietnamese tra fish.
According to the clip broadcast by Spain’s Cuatro TV on January 5, tra fish is being raised in unclean cages and fed with non-industrialised feed like dead fish and other food waste. The report went on to suggest that this was the reason for the low price of Vietnamese tra fish. It then also gave some comparisons with the catfish breeding in Spain to try to show how badly Vietnamese fish is being raised.
The footage even issued the warning that people should not eat tra fish more than two times a month to protect their health.
Following the report from the Spanish TV, Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer, said they would stop selling Vietnamese tra fish at their shops in Spain, Belgium and France despite no warnings from the European Union.
After receiving information about the Cuatro report, VASEP sent a letter to the local media, rejecting the report in its entirety, claiming that Vietnam’s tra fish production was hygienic and safe to consume. International organisations such as Best Aquaculture Practices and Aquaculture Stewardship Council also disagreed with the Spanish TV report.
VASEP General Secretary Truong Dinh Hoe claimed that people were seeking to take advantage of this environmental incident to inflate the story and assist the sale of Spanish fish.
What was indicated in the video does not represent Vietnam’s tra fish industry. It is not the standard process of tra fish production, but just a phenomenon that has been exaggerated to defame the Vietnam’s fish industry, he added.
Vietnamese tra fish have faced foreign media accusation of bad quality and substandard breeding methods continuously since 2010. In 2011, a German television channel aired a documentary film about tra fish, saying that the fish was being raised in polluted areas.
Meanwhile, Simon Bush, professor of environmental policy at Wageningen University, said their analysis showed that the vigorous claims made about pangasius did not match the very limited safety risk and limited environmental impact observed in scientific studies. Tra fish has been sold widely in many European countries and could be the victim of rival fish producers.
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