No compromise with food quality, safety norms: Minister

June 12th, 2008 - 9:30 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) India will not compromise with food safety norms to meet global challenges, Food Processing Industries Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said Wednesday. Sahai said Rs.40.31 billion would be spent on capacity building and quality management during 2007-12.

Additionally, his ministry would carry out a year-long campaign to sensitise all stakeholders as well as consumers about food safety and quality management, he said.

“Food safety is a growing concern across the world. There is increasing need to assure safety and quality of food to the consumers,” Sahai said while inaugurating a seminar on ‘Food Safety and Quality Management Systems - From Farm To Fork’ here.

He said India was poised to emerge as a key player in the world food trade, and was therefore committed to take all possible measures for food safety.

“The current fiscal will prove a turning point in India’s food safety and quality efforts. The ministry is creating an integrated cold chain infrastructure at different levels, and upgrading quality control laboratories,” he said.

Planning Commission member Syeda Hameed underlined the need for value addition in the processed food sector, and called for the participation of people from different walks in promoting India’s processed food industry.

“Students, farmers and housewives need to be included in this process so that this sector takes an important place in the entire world market. There are vast possibilities of food processing in the north-eastern states, Jammu and Kashmir, and Jharkhand,” she said.

Food Safety and Standards Authority chairman P.I. Suvrathan agreed: “Food sector is important and dynamic. Globalisation and the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers have brought in international competition to the domestic markets.”

Said Girdhar J. Gyani, secretary general, Quality Council of India: “All stakeholders must go extra miles to ensure quality of processed foods. There is also the need to upgrade processing and storage facilities for vegetables and fruits.”

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