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Australia warns Indian exporters over breaches in processed food laws

By Ankush Chibber , 05-Mar-2014

Australia’s agriculture department has sent an advisory to India’s agri-export authority over repeated violation of laws governing processed food exports to the country.

According to a report in local Indian daily Business Standard, Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) recently sent an advisory to India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, or APEDA.

The advisory, which has been circulated through APEDA and export associations, has alleged that Indian exporters involved in the export of processed food products, especially those containing milk, are violating Australia’s import regulations.

Prominent among the violations are those concerning labelling.  In 2011, Australian authorities reviewed the region’s food labelling laws and made 61 recommendations covering a wide range of labelling issues.

Indian exporters have been taking their time to understand and adhere to these changes in food labeling policy, which has also resulted in a drop in trade of processed food exports from India to Australia.

According to data from APEDA, India's food exports to Australia fell by 17% in value from A$90m to A$74m, and nearly 12% in quantity from 57,877 tonnes to 51,077 tonnes between 2012-13 and 2013-14.

India exported 460 tonnes of dairy products to Australia in 2012-13, which came down to 327 tonnes over same period this year.

Kartik Dwivedi, partner at Mumbai-based Dassler Business Intelligence, said that though the drop in trade and advisory is troubling, it does not look like a long-term problem.

“As I understand, this has to do with the various new labelling laws that the Australians have. Indian exporters should have and will have to make the necessary packaging and cost adjustments. This takes time and should be settled with greater understanding and more importantly, greater demand in Australia,” he said.

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