More food items to be covered by origin-tracking system

July 10th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) By March next year, more food products would come under the mechanism to track the origin of products - the traceability system - Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jairam Ramesh Thursday said here. “Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda) will extend the traceability system to organic foods, more fruits and other farm products by March 2009,” Ramesh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Apeda, having already put grapes under the traceability system, will now have mango, pomegranate, onion, basmati rice, honey, poultry, groundnut and organic products brought under the ambit of quality control mechanism.

The minister said the new system would help importers to know the level of pesticide residue in processed foods or farm products, and their origin.

“The new quality monitoring mechanism will help Indian exporters in expanding their market base across the world,” he said.

The traceability system (as it is called) is a requirement of importers and aims at covering as many products as possible to ensure their quality. It also offers details of a particular product online.

Apeda, India’s official agency to monitor export of processed food and farm products, introduced the traceability system in 2006 for monitoring fresh grapes exported from India to Europe.

India’s export of fresh grapes crossed over Rs.301 million ($7.2 million) in 2006-07 against Rs.214 million in 2005-06.

Ramesh launched a one-year post-graduate diploma course in food safety and quality management, a joint-initiative of Apeda and India’s largest distance education provider - the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).

“The programme aims at developing professionals for development, implementation and auditing of food safety and quality management for food processing sector in the country,” Apeda director Sanjay Dave said.

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