United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) commissioner Margaret Hamburg kicked off her nine-day-long tour of India on Monday with a meeting with health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. The meeting focussed on the pharmaceutical sector.
A health ministry official stated that American food regulator was keen to hold talks on food safety as well, but it would take time for the plans to come to fruition. “The Indian authorities are mulling over the intent on cooperation for food safety,” he added.
Sources added that closed-door meetings would be held with food industrialists and exporters later. “During the second half of Hamburg’s tour, she would visit Kochi, Kerala, where the focus would be on seafood and spices,” they added.
India is one of the top ten exporters of food products to the United States, but issues like contamination are seen as the focus of the USFDA commissioner’s interaction with the industrialists.
These highlight the importance of good manufacturing practices, particularly in the wake of recent proposal by the American food regulator for a defence plan against intended adulteration in manufacturing facilities.
This is the first official visit by a USFDA commissioner to India in the recent past. Hamburg will also visit the US Embassy in Mumbai, where she will summarise her visit at a press meet.