Monday, November 29, 1999

EU bans import of Indian honey, ComMin to try to resolve issue

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New Delhi, June 18 (PTI) The 27-nation European Union has banned imports of Indian honey, alleging that consignments of the natural nectar from the country are contaminated with lead. Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar today said the government was looking at ways to resolve the issue of import ban. The ban was put in place about a month ago. ". They (EU) are saying that they will not accept any shipments from here, there are problems of lead contamination and residue in the honey. I am looking at how we will fix that," Khullar told reporters here. The EU is the second largest destination for Indian honey exports after the US. India exports honey to over 60 countries. India''s total honey exports totalled USD 32.39 million in 2008-09, a quarter (USD 7.7 million) of which went to the EU. Domestic honey producers and the Export Inspection Council (EIC) was discussing the issue with Commerce Ministry officials. An official said some producers use antibiotics or chemicals to restrict bacterial growth in bee colonies and this residue might have collected in the honey. According to Kejriwal Bee Care India Pvt Ltd Director Prakash Kejriwal, the main problem was that a large number of exporters import cheap honey from countries like China and after value addition, they export to the EU. "The government should first restrict the Chinese imports. I think this will solve the problem to a large extent," Kejriwal, a leading honey exporter, said.

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