US and India to ensure quality food and drugs : US Secretary

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Kochi, Jan 9 (UNI) US Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O Leavitt today said his administration and the Indian Government would chalk out modalities to ensure safety and quality of food products and drugs traded between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters after visiting a spices processing plant, 'Synthite', at Kolencherry near here, Mr Leavitt said ''with the emergence of global consumer market, Americans and Indians deserve to know the quality of products they consume, which were imported from around the world.'' He said there was a need to develop modern tools to face future challenges in the fundamental change of the global consumer market as the present system working in the US was not good enough to tackle the issue.

'' If there is a problem in a product, there should be a tracking system whereby the source could be traced and appropriate action taken,'' he said.

Mr Leavitt said in the present world consumer market, the producers who do not provide quality products would be harshly punished by the consumers.

Asked about the regulations on spices imports from India, he said the standards had to be framed after discussions between vendors and suppliers.

Asked whether the US was considering India as a dumping ground of its waste against the backdrop of a ship consignment of municipal waste from New York, which arrived here two months back, Mr Leavitt categorically stated that '' The US administration never considered India as a dumping ground".

Earlier, Mr Leavitt visited the Cochin Port and held discussions with the officials there.

Mr Leavitt, who is in India as part of his mission to identify key areas of quality concerns in the food and drug industry, also visited couple of food processing units in and around city.

UNI MA VV ADB1801

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