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Quality inspection, insurance to help mitigate risks in food processing biz: APEDA

Quality inspection, insurance to help mitigate risks in food processing biz: APEDArn rnNew Delhi, Jul 29 (PTI) As the government aims to increase food processing levels in the country, agri-export promotion body APEDA on Wednesday emphasised on the need to focus on quality inspection and insurance for mitigating risks in the sector.rnThe government, through its Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana, as well as agencies like FSSAI and Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) are working towards boosting production and export of processed food items, it said.rnrn"In the food processing sector, there are challenges because there is too much seasonality and vulnerability. But these risks can be overcome by insurance and quality inspection," APEDA Director Tarun Bajaj said while addressing a webinar organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.rnrnAlthough not much importance is given to quality inspection and insurance by food businesses, these two are important tools in mitigating risks, he said.rnrnStating that quality inspection is part of food safety management, Bajaj said however it is generally seen as a "negative" and many want to do business without it.rnrn"But inspections are required in food safety management, right from procurement to production, processing, transportation, storage, distribution and even when products reach consumers. They are not a burden but in fact help in reducing losses, in building the brand, gaining consumer confidence and in earning profits," he said.rnrnOn insurance, the APEDA official said special coverage like product liability insurance and product recall insurance are required in the food business.rnrn"Without product liability insurance, many retailers may not like to keep your products on shelf. At the same time, as part of the traceability every country wants to know whether there is a product recall system. When you have that, you need insurance for that," he said.rnrnBajaj said while India has a huge farm production base, food processing levels are much lower than other countries. However, the government is giving thrust on increasing food processing levels and becoming self-reliant, he added.rnrnSpeaking at the event, Insurance Foundation of India founder and CEO S K Sethi said normally food companies, after taking loan from banks for their business, tend to think that all kinds of risks have been covered by the lenders.rnrn"Definitely, banks provide loans and say they will take care of insurance. But they are more worried about the collateral. They do not know about other insurance products, be it product liability insurance or product recall insurance," he said.rnrnSethi advised food businesses to do a risk assessment and discuss with insurance firms or experts on what insurance products are required to be taken.rnrnMarine cargo insurance expert Thondup Tschering, representatives from the Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) and Forum Of Indian Food Importers, among others, also spoke on the issue. PTI LUX ABM

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