David Garrido said Salmones Aysén had not used oxytetracycline since 2017. Photo: Salmones Aysén.

There are no antibiotics in our fish, says producer banned from Russia

A Chilean salmon producer whose fish have been temporarily banned from Russia has insisted the company’s products don’t contain the traces of antibiotics allegedly found by Russian laboratory tests.

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Salmones Aysén is one of four Chilean producers whose salmon were blocked from sale by Russian veterinary authority Rosselkhoznadzor last Friday. The others are Mowi Chile, Yadrán and Camanchaca.

Rosselkhoznadzor said it had detected traces of the antibiotic oxytetracycline in the fish, but David Garrido, technical manager for Salmones Aysén, said that by 2019 all the company’s sea sites were free of antibiotics.

Verified by university

He told Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmon Expert: “All the farming centres were certified by (state aquaculture service) Sernapesca and samples were taken for each of them, which went to the laboratory of the University of Chile, where it was verified that our fish have no antimicrobial presence.”

Furthermore, Garrido said Salmones Aysén had not been using oxytetracycline in freshwater or sea water sites since 2017, “and if we require any treatment we use some other microbial”.

He added: “In fact, some of the centres notified are 100% free of antibiotics from the ova, they were never treated.”

Traceability documents

The technical manager said Salmones Aysén was currently delivering all the required information to Rosselkhoznadzor, and that “to facilitate the review of the documentation, we are also providing the traceability of fish from all centres, so they can verify that there was no treatment performed with this product. In addition, we have the traceability of companies that provide us with feed.”

Garrido concluded: “It is important that we can do a thorough investigation. We meet all standards and only in the Russian market have we had this detection, since in the other countries that we sell to, such as Japan or the United States, we have not had any type of detection.”

Farm inspections

Russia is the Chilean salmon industry’s fourth most important export market.

In November last year Rosselkhoznadzor officials visited Chile to carry out inspections at 10 salmon farms, some of which belonged to companies that were at the time restricted from exporting to Russia. They included Marine Farm, Cermaq and Nova Austral.

Alicia Gallardo, national director of Sernapesca, said at the time that the audit wa to allow Rosselkhoznadzor to verify that Chilean salmon complies with safety regulations and does not contain banned substances.