US Health Secretary visits Kerala firm to check standards


Kolencherry (Kerala) : US Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt Wednesday called at one of Kerala’s premier export house, Synthite Industrial Chemicals, here to see for himself the standards and protocols being followed by the company.

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“American consumers now consume products with ingredients from all over the world. It is our concern that they get the best quality products and I am here as part of having a first-hand account of the quality and standards levels being followed by exporters to our country,” said Leavitt to reporters at the company premises.

The headquarters of Synthite is located 20 km from the port city of Kochi. The company is a leading exporter of spice-based natural products.

The firm currently exports a major chunk of its products to US markets and the visit of Leavitt to the country and Synthite is part of his mission to identify key areas of quality concerns in the food and drug industry for exporters to the US.

Synthite’s product portfolio includes essential oils and natural food colours. The firm processes 60,000 metric tonnes of raw materials at five different plants in South India and employs 1,200 people.

“This exercise is to see that we track each product and more importantly, each ingredient which makes the final product so as to see that we know if a particular batch goes bad, whom to contact and to identify from where it came,” said Leavitt, who is former governor of the state of Utah.

He is also chairman of the Import Safety Working Group – a US presidential forum that recommends a prevention-focused model to ensure that adequate safety is built into products prior to arrival in to their country.

“We ensure that each product is bar-coded and it is possible for us to identify from where and which tree the product has been taken,” added Leavitt.

Later speaking to reporters, George Paul, director of Synthite, said each and every query by the visiting delegation has been answered with complete documentation.

“We have been following strict controls and the delegation has gone back with full confidence,” said Paul.

The delegation led by Leavitt includes Andrew von Eschenbach, commissioner of US Food and Drug Administration and David Hopper, Consul General, US Embassy.

The delegation has been travelling across the country and has already visited Chennai and Hyderabad.