European Commission authorities have given a partial thumbs-up to Vietnam's tests and inspections on residues and contaminants in aquaculture.

Testing was "adequate", the commission said, but its effectiveness was undermined by the limited scope of "official testing" and the lack of enforcement deterrents.

The conclusion followed an investigation of procedures in October last year and a subsequent report from the European Union's Food and Veterinary Office and the commission's General Health and Consumer Protection directorate.

The evaluation was based on the community's standards and legislation, including the control and distribution of veterinary medicines.

"For aquaculture products, the national residues control plan basically complies with EU requirements. The residues status of aquaculture products imported into the EU from Vietnam is guaranteed by the pre-export testing programme and the checks of exporting companies," the conclusion stated.

"The number of detections of veterinary drug residues in consignments tested at EU border inspection posts has decreased since the 2007 mission. The laboratory network is adequate and sufficient for the residues control purpose."

However, the vet office and protection directorate recommended Vietnam implement a system of effective residue controls and deterrent enforcement measures to avoid illegal or unauthorised off-label use of veterinary medicinal products.

The National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department has subsequently required enterprises processing seafood for export to the EU to boost their control measures.

In the first quarter of this year, the EU was the largest export market for Vietnam's seafood, accounting for 24.8 percent of the total seafood export value, according to the General Department of Customs.

Vietnam saw a year-on-year increase of 7.6 percent in export volume to 75,220 tonnes of seafood and of 8.9 percent in export value to 221 million USD./.