FDA, U. of Md. train Bangladeshis on aquaculture safety

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Seafood safety experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the University of Maryland Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) are training 10 scientists from Bangladesh on how to eliminate health hazards from aquaculture – the controlled production of seafood, much of which is exported to the United States.

The trainees are among a group that participated in a Good Aquacultural Practices (GAqPs) train-the-trainer program in Khulna, Bangladesh, in November 2009 and who are committed to furthering their country’s ability to further improve aquaculture safety there over the next five years.

The training, by experts from the FDA and JIFSAN was occurring Sept. 15-18, 2010, at College Park, Md., and from Sept. 20-24, 2010, at university facilities in Princess Anne, Md., and Cambridge, Md. The emphasis is on hazards associated with shrimp production and on FDA regulations regarding safety of seafood imports.

“Collaborating with other countries in this way not only helps to improve the quality and safety of their domestic product, but also what they export to the United States and other countries around the world,” said FDA Deputy Commissioner for International Programs, Murray M. Lumpkin, M.D.

The training will include lectures, demonstrations, site visits, and workgroup activities. Using a “train-the-trainer” model, those who successfully complete this and subsequent training programs will be qualified as trainers in Bangladesh.

Aquaculture is the production of aquatic life such as shrimp, fish and plants under controlled conditions for all or part of their life cycle. Over the past 20 years, the aquaculture industry has grown by more than 11 percent each year. It is now the fastest-growing segment of agriculture worldwide, accounting for 52 percent of all fish produced. In the United States, about 85 percent of the seafood consumed is imported from more than 50 different countries. Of that amount, 40 percent comes from aquaculture operations, the other 60 percent from wild harvest.

This training program was developed by a team of seafood specialists in 2006 and began in Vietnam that same year. Since then, the program has been conducted in Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh and, most recently, Malaysia. This training follows the March 22, 2010, Agreement of Cooperation between the University and the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF). The next Bangladesh train-the-trainer program is scheduled to take place Nov. 7-11, 2010.

Source: FDA Release News

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