Agricultural Products Exported to EU Must Meet Health Standards
Farms, market gardens, packaging units and companies that export plants and other agricultural products to the EU are required to register with the relevant authorities.
This will enable them to obtain certification from district agriculture and forestry offices, according to a recent announcement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Plants and agricultural products destined for export must also be examined for Maximum Residue Limits to ensure they do not exceed set standards.
They also must not contain any microbes, especially Salmonella and Escherichia Coli , and be shipped with a laboratory test document that verifies them as being ISO 1725 certified.
Before issuing phytosanitary certificates, the authorities will inspect and randomly collect samples from products to prevent infection, as specified by the European Union.
The announcement was issued to increase the stringency of phytosanitary checks in response to warnings from the EU. It aims to ensure that the export of plants and agricultural products to the EU takes place in a transparent manner that is consistent with the Union’s phytosanitary requirements. Beginning this year, the EU banned the import of certain vegetables after the discovery of pests and chemical substances that exceeded the safety levels.
The order stipulates that officials should temporarily cease the issuing of Certificates of Origin to companies notified by the EU until they have improved and can fully comply with the phytosanitary measures.
The order instructs the Vientiane Department of Agriculture and Forestry and its provincial counterparts to disseminate regulations and conditions for the export of vegetables and vegetable products to the EU, which will help to raise awareness, understanding and implementation accordingly.
It also indicates that the inspection system and phytosanitary certification by technicians and phytosanitary officers needs to be examined, with a report compiled for examination by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In light of the problem, the ministry recently issued an order instructing provincial departments and relevant bodies to work together to improve the safety standards of vegetable crop s.
The ministry has told the relevant authorities to stop issuing quality guarantee certificates to companies who were warned by the EU.
The suspension will be imposed until the quality of vegetables is improved to meet the EU’s standards.
The authorities were told to make sure quality guarantee certificates were not issued for vegetables grown outside the country but were claimed to have originated in Laos under the allocated export quota.
District agriculture a nd forestry offices and planting divisions have been told to circulate the EU’s conditions and criteria to agribusiness operators and exporters so that exported farm products meet the criteria.
The EU has issued 130 warnings since 2012 followed by the ban.
Source: Vientiane Times