EU needs to streamline food standards: Sahay

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New Delhi, Aug 5 (UNI) Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay today said the European Union (EU) needs to streamline its food standards as it proves to be a hassle for Indian companies seeking to enter the EU countries.

''Each country in the European Union follows a different food standard, which leads to a lot of Indian products being denied entry,'' Mr Sahay said while inaugurating the two-day seminar on 'Freedom from Foodborne illnesses through safe Kitchens', organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He also cautioned Indian companies to strengthen its processes to meet the world standards.

Mr Sahay also lashed out at the ''agencies'' who attributed the global food crisis to countries like India and China, who have a high population.

''The US has seven per cent, while Europe has eight per cent of its population in the agricultural sector. India, in comparison, has 70 per cent of its population pursuing agriculture. So, how can those agencies point to India?'' Mr Sahay questioned.

The Minister urged investors to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the food processing sector in the country.

''The sector has been growing at 13.7 per cent from 6.5 per cent four years ago. We are already offering 50 per cent refund to investors setting up units along with tax holidays,'' he said.

''India plans to increase the level of food processing from two per cent at present to 20-35 per cent by 2015. This would require not only reduction of wastage but also enhancement of food safety and quality,'' Ministry of Food Processing Industries Secretary Rahul Sarin said.

UNI SR SG GC1757

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