China has imposed a ban on import of live mud crab and eel fish from Bangladesh as health hazardous bacteria were found in some consignments along with forged salubrity certificates recently, officials said.
The government has asked the law enforcement agency to take legal action against five exporting firms in this regard, they added.
These firms had submitted fake salubrity certificates to the Chinese authorities concerned while exporting crabs and eel fish. The false certificates prepared by the five firms had been issued in the name of chief veterinary officer, according to a senior official of the Department of Fisheries (DoF).
The Chinese authorities found the presence of contaminated substances (estradiol and cadmium) beyond the acceptable limit for human health, he added.
In a letter, Plant and Animal Quarantine Department of General Administration of China Customs (GACC) recently conveyed the decision on the temporary ban on import of the goods to the Bangladesh embassy in Beijing.
When contacted, Deputy Director (FIQC) of DoF Md. Yousuf Khan said, "China has stopped import of mud crab and eel fish from Bangladesh very recently. We have asked the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport authority concerned to take required steps in this regard."
He, however, said the Chinese side has requested Bangladesh to take legal actions against the five exporting firms. They also called for a halt to export of such goods to China from Bangladesh as soon as possible.
The government's department concerned has already taken necessary measures to stop export of live mud crab and eel fish from Bangladesh to China.
To this effect, the DoF has stopped issuing salubrity certificates to the exporters of such items from July 10.
The agency has asked the commissioner of customs at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport authority not to give permission for exporting live mud crab and eel fish.
The fisheries and livestock and the commerce ministries as well as the fisheries department have been working jointly to resolve the existing problems, a senior official of the fisheries department told the FE.
Generally, live mud crab and eel fish are exported only by air.
When contacted, an official of the live and chilled food exporters' association said there is no mention in the existing rules to take salubrity certificates from the DoF for exporting crab and eel fish.
The traders concerned have been exporting mud crab and eel fish on the basis of relations between exporters and buyers.
"We have been exporting the items without such certificates. If it is mandatory to take salubrity certificates from the DoF, why the departments are not asking the airport authority to stop export of live goods," a source concerned said.
In a recent meeting with the commerce ministry, the association assured that membership would be scrapped if it finds involvement of any member in any irregularity in the export process.