India’s efforts to take its seafood exports to the next level got a major push with the Marine Products Export Development Authority inaugurating its first state-of-the-art microbiology laboratory here.

Unveiling the laboratory, Union Minister of State for the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Rameswar Teli, said the new laboratory at MPEDA headquarters would help the seafood sector overcome the stiff competition in the global export market, particularly on the quality front.

MPEDA Chairman KS Srinivas said the laboratory would be used to test all sorts of seafood at various stages, including during production and prior to export, to avoid the presence of any bacteria. “It will ensure that exporters are not faced with rejection of their products by any country on the grounds of sub-standard quality,” he noted.

The laboratory was necessitated by the fact that the US, the European Union and other major seafood importers were tightening their quality norms on a regular basis in the interest of the health of their population. This has prompted India’s seafood exporters to go for enhancement of the quality of their products to survive the competition.

Teli expressed the hope that all other sectors under the food processing industry, including tea growers in Assam and elsewhere, would go for such a laboratory to promote quality and give a fillip to exports.

MPEDA unveiled its laboratory on the third and final day of the 22nd India International Seafood Show organised jointly with the Seafood Export Association of India.

MPEDA secretary B Sreekumar said the authority took just one year to set up the new lab from the conception stage. This microbiology laboratory would be in addition to the already existing conventional facilities.

The other laboratories are in Kochi (Kerala), Bhimavaram and Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) and Bhubaneswar (Odisha).