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Differential standards by EU to impinge Indian seafood exports
Venkatachari Jagannathan
8 May 2003

Chennai: Despite the standards prescribed by the United States Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in respect of food safety, the European Union (EU) is putting differential standards that impinge Indian seafood exports.

According to Dr M K Mukundan, joint director, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT), the EU has laid down that the antibiotic residue in fishery and meat products should be less than 0.1 parts per billion.

"The stricter standards does not actually mean healthy and safe products but acts as a trade barrier. Meeting these standards entails heavy investments in test equipment that would make Indian exports costly," he said.

Speaking at the 'Food Quality & Safety Management HACCP and SQF 2000' seminar, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he said the government should depute the scientific and technical personnel to World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations than bureaucrats, as it is the former which knows better the trade and technology nuances.

Detailing the retailer's perspective on labelling food products, K Radhakrishnan, vice-president (merchandising and marketing), FoodWorld Supermarkets, expressed the difficulties faced by retail chains in enforcing the labelling norms as they just sell the products manufactured by some other organisations.

domain-B's currency converter - check it out"Nevertheless we ask for a blanket indemnity for liability from product manufacturers. We deal only with suppliers having food licence and those who conform to the Packaging Commodities Act," he said.

According to him FoodWorld insists on suppliers to barcode their products after spending around Rs 40 lakh, barcoding all its packets. He said even multinational companies that sell food items like chips do not barcode their product packages. "Henceforth we have decided to charge 15 paise per package on companies that don't barcode their products," he said.

send this article to a friend He said food safety measures should start from the farm-gate level. "As per law, poultry should not be injected with any antibiotics two days before its slaughter. But who is there to ensure that? Any law is good only if it is enforced properly."

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Differential standards by EU to impinge Indian seafood exports