DORI banned from seafood exports pending inquiry
A CEBU-based seafood exporter has been ordered to suspend operations temporarily following an outbreak of hepatitis A in Hawaii that has been traced back to some of the products it has shipped.
The exporter, De Oro Resources Inc. (DORI), in operation since 1992, supplies mainly bay scallops, tiger prawns and yellow clam.
The United States Food and Drug Administration tests found hepatitis A in scallops from the Philippines, which Sea Port Products Corp imported from DORI.
US authorities have already imposed a Hawaii-wide embargo on the product, which made more than 200 people sick.
Ordering the suspension of DORI’s accreditation temporarily, the director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Eduardo Gongona, has also asked the company not to distribute its existing inventory of fishery products and to recall all previously distributed products belonging to the same batch or of the same distribution period.
The suspension will remain in force until the ongoing traceability audit is completed and safety of all DORI produces is determined.
In view of these emerging threats to seafood safety which pose serious risks to human health, Gongona said that BFAR implementing emergency measures, re-assessing, re-evaluating audit of De Oro Resources, Inc. in line with the provisions of the Food Safety Act of 2013.
He added that the emergency measures are implemented to arrest possible contamination of the virus, if the same truly exists as established by the thorough assessment and investigation on the matter.
The Philippines has been exporting scallops since 1976 and in compliance with the seafood safety standards of importing countries and expanding the business over these years without seafood safety concerns.
In 2014, some 826,177 kilograms of scallops valued at US$6 million were exported to Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, United States, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Initiatives to implement the Philippine Seafood Traceability Program since 2013 have increased demand for Philippine seafood products notably worldwide, and particularly in the European Union.