The regulations are designed to manage bio-security risks related to Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP), a microsporidian parasite that affects the growth rate and sizes of prawns.
The current importing requirements related to EHP for prawn products were seen as too lax.
Prawn and uncooked prawn products will have to be deveined and certified by authorised organisations. Deveining is considered the most practical and effective method to reduce the amount of EHP that may exist in infected prawns.
Customs clearance procedures in Australia will require checking of the products to ensure that packages are sealed.
Australia's model health certificate for prawns and prawn meat for human consumption has been updated with the new criteria: “Uncooked prawns have been deveined (removal of the digestive tract to at least the last shell segment)”.
The importing changes do not apply to cooked products, or to deep processed, ground or battered products, nor to prawn products originating from Australia that have been processed at Thai Union-approved facilities.
Australia is Vietnam's seventh largest prawn importer, accounting for 3.8% of total prawn export value. In 2019, Vietnam exported over US$127 million worth of prawn to the country, a 10.8% increase from 2018.