Trade Associations – ASSG
BY NICK LAKE
What a year!
ability to cross check any spurious results, and based on historic data would indicate a potential downgrading of some classiﬁcations but with no direct link to food safety as it is just that - historic data. Hence we are currently in discussion with FSS to ensure a robust system can be developed prior to going ‘live’ and causing issues for industry. The advice from Seaﬁsh regarding the introduction of Codex standards into shellﬁsh harvesting waters classiﬁcations only applies to other areas of the UK and not Scotland. This will be subject to further consultation by FSS with the Scottish industry.
Shellﬁsh sector conﬁdent of growth at this critical stage of development
imagine that over the quiet periods of the festive season many pollsters will have been looking for other work opportunities, given the tumultuous year we have just experienced. The week after Brexit I was contacted by a French journalist to comment on the impact expected for the Scottish shellﬁsh production industry. My response was simply that we had no information upon which to make a judgement. Suﬃce to say, the position is the same now as it was then. The one point I am clear on is that whatever system of trade and engagement emerges, we need to ﬁnd the opportunities for our sector to develop. Interestingly, the outcome of the US elections puts another potential perspective on Brexit. Will we be at the back of the trade queue as previously suggested or, under the new regime, be invited to the front? I suspect neither but it does raise the question of where cultivated Scottish shellﬁsh may ﬁnd its market interests lying in the years to come. This has implications for the technical details and controls we may need to implement at the farm level to access markets. What are the requirements of the US Food and Drugs Administration in allowing live or processed Scottish shellﬁsh into North America? Surely it has to be more straightforward than the years it has taken to get haggis back on the menu stateside. I will come back to the question of exports but it does relate to our EU focused provisions for bivalve mollusc food safety which we are discussing with our own Food Standards Agency. Codex The word Codex may not have meant much to producers in the past but has now been brought into sharp focus. The advice collated by Seaﬁsh in relation to the new testing standards for E.coli under Codex should have been received by all members ahead of the January 1, 2017, UK implementation. (See the following link http://www.seaﬁsh.org/media/publications/ LBM_End_Product_Testing_2016-11-28.pdf ) It should be stressed that Codex introduces an international standard of testing into the EU legislative framework for bivalve mollusc food safety, and in this respect should present opportunities to access markets in countries both within and outwith the EU. While the introduction of Codex standards for End Product Testing is at an EU level, it is for the various competent authorities in member states to determine the process required for the classiﬁcation of shellﬁsh harvesting waters. Within the UK, the FSA has opted to implement the Codex standard as part of the shellﬁsh harvesting waters classiﬁcation system. In Scotland, the importance of maintaining class ‘A’ shellﬁsh harvesting waters cannot be under estimated, especially for product supplied to the multiple retail sector. Food Standards Scotland (FSS) has brought forward such a revised system based on the Codex standard. However, this has raised issues regarding the
Investment While on the EU theme it is always good to see that use is being made by our sector of the structural funding opportunities coming through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Brexit seemed likely to have a negative impact on access to this funding back in June but recent announcements from the Scottish government and the Treasury have clariﬁed that this scheme will be honoured through to the intended completion date of 2020. This is welcomed as we are at a critical stage of development in our industry and conﬁdent we can push up outputs both from existing farm sites and also new ones.
Opposite: Small but
Shellﬁsh forum Not only is public sector investment required, but also private ﬁnance through the commercial banking system and investors equity. This was an issue raised back in September at the Scottish Government Shellﬁsh Forum convened by Fergus Ewing, Minister for the Rural Economy and Connectivity. The need for access to commercial funds recognising that shellﬁsh stock and equipment in the water are tangible assets and that the growout duration in Scotland is lengthy are issues the minister subsequently discussed with a group of high street banks. The door is now ajar for our sector to discuss in greater detail both our operational needs and our growth prospects with those investment institutions. We have moved on considerably as a sector over the last couple of decades and possibly we have not spent enough time assuring potential investors of the professional status of the current industry. We operate as food businesses under a stringent set of regulations which provide consumer
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