Indonesia has managed to get 323 of its fishery products internationally certified in compliance with Codex Alimentarius. This is the highest international food standard and ensures that food products are safe for human consumption.
Gellwynn Jusuf, secretary-general of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, said this proves Indonesia’s commitment, as a major fish exporter, to improve the quality of its fishery products so they could be more broadly appreciated and consumed across the globe, Jakarta Post reports.
“The global market has shifted its paradigm from only fulfilling food needs to ensuring fair trade and safe consumption, and we have to cope with this. Therefore, we should continue to improve our quality and safety, as well as managing risks from hazards and contamination during processing,” he stated.
“The concern is not only for food, but also its safety and cultivation,” the secretary added, Republika Online reports.
In 2011, exports of fishery products reached USD 3.5 billion, an increase of 23 per cent from the USD 2.8 billion in 2010, according to the ministry.
The largest export markets for the country are the US, valued at USD 1.13 billion, followed by Japan at USD 806 million and European countries at USD 460 million.
“During the first semester of this year, exports reached USD 1.9 billion, an increase of 17.92 per cent compared to the same period last year. This shows that our products have higher competitiveness,” Jusuf reasoned.
He said the ministry’s goal is to reach USD 4.2 billion in exports in 2012.
Indonesia is also working to enter new export markets, including South Africa for tinned sardines, and develop synergy with Spain and Portugal to produce canned tuna. Indonesia will also try to enter Eastern European markets such as Russia and Ukraine.
To ensure food safety and fair practice in trade worldwide, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) have set up the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which manages food standards. Codex has established several committees, including one for seafood.
This is the first time Indonesia hosts a meeting of Codex fisheries product committee.
Bjorn Knudtsen, head delegate for Norway, said that 175 delegates from 57 countries discussed several topics related to fishery, including standards for smoked fish and scallops and food additives in seafood.
“Another highlighted topic is biotoxins, which accumulate in fish and can cause disease in humans. In the seafood trade, biotoxin risks should also be considered to ensure safe consumption by humans,” he added.
By Natalia Real