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11. QUALITY CONTROL AND PRE-SHIPMENT INSPECTION

 

EXPORT INSPECTION COUNCIL OF INDIA (EIC)

 

Establishment & Role          

The Export Inspection Council of India (EIC) was set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Export (Quality Control & Inspection) Act, 1963 as an apex body to provide for sound development of export trade through quality control and pre-shipment inspection. The Act empowers the Central Government to notify commodities and their minimum standards for exports, generally international standards or standards of the importing countries and to set up suitable machinery for inspection and quality control.

 

EIC has a Chairman and 17 members nominated by the Central Government with Director (Inspection & Quality Control), functioning as Member Secretary.  EIC is assisted in its functions by the Export Inspection Agencies (EIAs) located at Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai having a network of 38 sub-offices and laboratories to back up the pre-shipment inspection and certification activity. The main functions of EIC are to advise the Central Government on measures for enforcing of quality control and inspection in relation to commodities intended for export and to draw up programmes for quality control and inspection of commodities for exports.  EIC/EIAs render various services like Certification of quality of export commodities as per international standards, issue of certificates of health and certificates of authenticity to exporters, issue of Certificate of Origin to exporters under various preferential tariff schemes, laboratory testing and training and technical assistance to the industry in installation of quality and safety management Systems based on principles of HACCP, ISO-9001: 2000, ISO: 17025.

 

In the WTO regime, as India’s trading partners are installing regulatory import controls, EIC has refashioned its role to introduce voluntary certification programmes, especially in the food sector and is seeking recognition for EIC’s certification by official import control agencies of country’s trading partners, as per provisions of WTO agreements, to facilitate easier access to the markets of other countries by Indian exporters.

 

Export Certification Systems

The main systems of export inspection and certification being followed by EIC include Consignment-wise Inspection (CWI), In-process Quality Control (IPQC), Self-certification (SC), and Food Safety Management Systems based Certification (FSMSC). The value of exports certified under each of the above systems is given below:

 

FOB Value of Exports

                   (Rs. in Crores)

Systems

Actual 2004 to

31.3.2005

Actual up to Dec2005

Expected 1.1.2006 to 31.3.2006

Consignment Wise Inspection (CWI)

262.91

178.92

71.08

In-Process Quality Control (IPQC)

422.05

301.25

148.75

Food Safety Management Systems        based Certification (FSMSC)

7,160.99

5109.75

1890.25

Implementation of Certification in the Food Sector

 

Fish and Fishery Products

In this area, 400 fish and fishery product processing units (153 for EU and 247 for non-EU) are approved. For consignments of shrimps meant for export to EU, health certificates were issued only after testing and clearance for banned antibiotics. The consignments rejected in EU countries during 2004 were 25 and in 2005 (till 30.12.05) these were 32.

 

Executive instructions on operational aspects of the scheme were revised and implemented with effect from 1st August 2005. Consultations are going on with other related organisations to bring out an amendment Notification specifying the conditions for the fishing vessels in line with the requirements of EC Directive 92/48/EEC. Discussions are also going on for finalisation of a scheme for official control of Landing Sites and Auction Centres in line with the requirements of the Govt. of India Notification and also EC Directive 91/493/ dt. 22 July 1991. A re-assessment of 127 EU approved fish and fishery products establishments by the Inter Departmental Panel was carried out and re-assessment of the remaining units is being carried out and is expected to be completed shortly.

 

Egg Products and Honey

4 units processing egg products and 2 units of honey for export were approved by EIC/EIAs and the work on the operation of Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) were continued to be carried out by APEDA under the supervision of the EIC. 

 

Black Pepper

Black Pepper was brought under compulsory quality control and inspection. Under this system, five units were approved by EIC/EIAs in the year 2005-06.

 

Milk Products

During the year 2005-06 (upto 31 December 2005), 50 milk products units were on the approved list. EIC is implementing the Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) for milk and milk products for 2005-06 to ensure that milk products exported meet the residue requirements laid down by importing countries. Under the RMP 2005-06, 300 samples are to be drawn to cover testing for residues of veterinary drugs, residues pesticides, heavy metals, Beta Lactum and aflatoxin M1. The testing data for the year 2004-05 were already forwarded to the EC.

 

Basmati Rice

8 units were approved under the IPQC Scheme for Basmati Rice.  EIC received 62 samples of basmati rice from the customs of few member states of EU for verifying the authenticity of basmati rice exported. The scheme of DNA testing of basmati rice, being developed by the CDFD, Hyderabad is at an advance stage of adoption, after which DNA testing of rice samples would commence from April 2006.

 

 

Poultry Meat and Poultry Meat Products

Poultry Meat & Poultry Meat Products were brought under compulsory quality control and pre-shipment inspection under the provisions of the Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963, whereunder 3 poultry meat and poultry meat product units were approved. Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare, Government of Japan has accorded recognition to Indian certification procedure of poultry meat and agreed to import of poultry meat and its products into Japan with effect from 13 October 2005.

 

Meat Scheme

As per Gazette Notification, 4 certification agencies are authorised for quality certification of the product. However, in view of the existence of quality complaints/issuance of fake health certificates in export of raw meat (chilled/frozen) from the country, it has been decided that EIC will act as central monitoring authority for certification of meat for export to ensure uniformity and to bring in traceability. A draft supervisory scheme formulated by EIC has been circulated to concerned Ministries/State Governments and other stakeholders for soliciting their views before taking a final decision.

 

Other Schemes

 

Lab Testing Activities

During the year, instruments already installed in EIA labs located at Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kochi were upgraded in terms of detectors, auto sampler, columns for HPLC, GC MS MS, etc.  and few new instruments were procured as per the requirement of trade.  Three private laboratories were approved by EIC during the year and 60,000 (estimated) samples were tested in 2005-06 as against 57,830 samples in 2004-05. In order to ensure acceptability of test results of EIA’s labs, EIC has decided to implement the quality system i.e. ISO: 17025 in the four main EIA labs i.e. at Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Kochi. During the year, the documents as required under the standard have been developed for 3 labs and one lab has already applied to National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for accreditation.  The other 3 labs are also expected to apply by April, 2006.

 

EIC Inspection Agency Recognition Scheme

EIC continue to recognize Inspection Agencies under Section 7 (1) of Export (Quality Control and Inspection) Act, 1963.  The scheme has been aligned with the International Standards on Acceptance of Inspection Bodies, ISO/IEC 17020:1998, to make the same internationally acceptable.  Under the revised scheme applicable from 1st February 2002, 52 inspection agencies have applied for recognition, out of which 30 have already been approved and notified and exercise in is progress for the remaining agencies

 

Human Resource Development

With the simplification of the regulatory export inspection regime, EIC/EIAs have reoriented their role as facilitation of exports through quality certification as well as proactively providing technical assistance and training to the industry by establishing Human Resource and Quality Development Centre (HR & QDC) in EIC. The Council has also intensified training and reorientation programmes for its own staff in areas such as Certificate of Origin, Fish and Fishery certification, Heavy Metal Analysis and Analysis of Milk Products, Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2000 Lead Auditor & ISO 17025), HACCP, GC, HPLC, AAS, Basmati rice certification, milk quality control and analysis, computerization, administration monitoring, finance, Right to Information Act and vigilance.  A total of 172 officials were given training in these areas.  A six days programme on Basmati Rice was organized at Hyderabad from 24th-30th August, 2005 with the help of Directorate of Rice Research, Hyderabad. One half day Seminar on ‘Emerging Opportunities in Food Sector’ was also organized in September, 2005 during ‘Food and Technology Expo – 2005’ at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. 69 participants from different segments of food trade attended the seminar. 

 

International Activities

Participation in International Events

EIC participated in the following international events:

  • 27th RECA Seminar on Food Safety on the International Negotiations and International Agricultural Trade at Tokyo from 18th-28th July, 2005, organized by Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO).

 

 

  • 6th World Congress on Sea Food Safety, Quality and Trade at Sydney, Australia from 11-16th September, 2005 organized by International Association of Fish Inspectors. 
  • 14th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Inspection & Certification Systems held in Melbourne, Australia from 28th November, 2005 to 02 December, 2005.
  • Training programme on Evaluation of Organic Certification Bodies at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Frick, Switzerland from 30th November to 2nd December, 2005.

 

MoU with Sri Lanka

The agreement between the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) and the EIC was signed on 26th December 2002 and was made operational from August 2004 after an assessment of EIC’s Certification System by Sri Lankan Authorities. As a step towards reciprocal MOU, an Indian delegation visited Sri Lanka from 14th to 16th September 2005 to understand, assess and verify if the Certification Procedure practised by the Sri Lankan Authorities for export of food products to India meets the Indian requirements.  The team suggested to Sri Lankan side that a single agency in Sri Lanka may address the certification of food products for exports. Further, the 4th round of technical level negotiations were held between India and Sri Lanka on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on 6th to 7th October 2005 at New Delhi, wherein it was decided that agreement/MOU for recognition of Export Inspection and Certification Systems of Sri Lanka for import of food items into India should be finalised at an early date.

 

Visit of Chinese delegation

A 4 member Chinese delegation, headed by Mr.Yuan Changziang, Deputy Director General, Department of Supervision on Inspection of AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality  Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine), China, visited EIC on 10th October 2005 to interact on the issues arising out of export of Iron Ore from India to China. During the visit, the activities of Inspection Agencies approved by EIC under EIC Inspection Agency Recognition Scheme 2002 for export of Mineral and Ores was explained and a proposal was made by EIC to enter into an MOU with  AQSIQ so that due recognition is given to the certification system of EIC that would not only avoid exercise of duplicate inspection/testing at Chinese end but would also ensure that most of the issues raised by them regarding import of Iron Ore to China were adequately addressed.  A draft MOU was also handed over to Chinese delegation.

 

 

MoU with Italy

MOU on fishery and aquaculture products between the Department of Commerce, GOI and the Ministry of Health of the Italian Republic was signed on 14th February 2005 at New Delhi with a view to strengthen the effectiveness of preventive measures for epidemic diseases for fisheries animals and to prevent the transmission of fishery  diseases or contaminants to the consumers. EIC has been designated as the Competent Authority for the implementation of the MOU for the Indian side.  

 

Others           

Further, MOUs on conformity assessment with Australia, USA, EU countries, Sri Lanka, Singapore, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mercasur, Libya, Bhutan, Mauritius, Ethiopia & Thailand for extension of scope etc. have been under consideration.

 

Corporate Audit

A system of corporate audit of all activities of EIAs by EIC is in existence to ensure compliance to, effectiveness and accountability of the system. During the period, EIC carries out annual audit of each EIA and at least one of its sub-offices for activities pertaining to various schemes like fish and fishery products, milk products, honey, rice, lab testing, issuance of Certificates of Origin, etc.

 

Computerization Activities

Under the Integrated Computerization Project (ICP), activities of EIC have been divided into 19 Modules and many activities towards computerisation such as freezing of requirement specifications of the entire system, design document, software development work and User Acceptance Test (UAT), installation of central servers in M/s VSNL data centre and network connectivity amongst EIC, EIA-Delhi and SOs have been undertaken during the year.  Computerised online issuance of Certificate of Origin by EIC has been identified as a thrust area for monitoring at the level of the Prime Minister under their institutional reforms.  Computerised sale of blank certificates and issuance of certificate of origin has been stabilised in EIA-Delhi. After phased deployment of computerisation environment in EIA-Delhi, complete issuance of Certificate of Origin through computers, including online issuance, was started in EIA-Delhi w.e.f. 1st October 2005.  Implementation of Part-A consisting of four modules has also been started in EIA-Mumbai and EIA-Kochi in October, 2005 and in EIA Kolkota and Chennai in Nov.-Dec.2005 and   requisite training on the software developed was provided to the officials of EIA-Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata and Chennai and their concerned sub-offices. Network connectivity (Lease Line, ISDN etc.) is being established among all EIAs and sub-offices.  During the year, EIC’s website (www.eicindia.org) has been made more user-friendly.  Further information like Right to information Act-2005, details of approved units under different schemes, a citizen’s charter, etc., has been created and uploaded on the website.  

 

Business Development

During the year, EIAs has carried out hygiene and sanitation inspection on 62 milk processing units. Tea Board, India has also authorised EIAs to act as Inspection Agencies as per Tea (Distribution & Export) Control Order, 2005 dated 1 April, 2005, SO: 486(E), for issuance of Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin for export-worthy consignments of tea.  A PR company has been engaged by EIC for image building of the Organization. A professional analysis of the organization is being carried out to review the entire functioning of the organization and bring out recommendations to make it more efficient and effective.