India's Only Monthly News Magazine, Portal & App For Agro, Food & Allied Industries Vol 13 Issue 07 May 2018
Millet Revolution Paradigm Shift in Food Regulatory Environment
Imported Foods Flooding Indian market
Gourmet Popcorn- A new Snacking Trend Follow us on: www.facebook.com/foodprocessing.india
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Paradigm Shift in Food Regulatory Environment 22
A brief outlook on the spice oil and oleoresin market in India
Millet Revolution 32
Food processing Industry has the power to end Indian farmers woes 38
Imported foods making their way on Indian grocery road 44
Gourmet PopcornA new Snacking Trend
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he food processing industry can change the fate of Indian farmers, it is true, and can bring a brighter day for the poor farmers who were never ever able to get the price of the food they produce. They feed us but end up providing only a day meal for their family and if the conditions go worse…they go without eating. Even after 72 years of independence and after the slogans “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”, the predicament of Indian farmer seems never ending. But I am sure with food processing developing rapidly, the farmers woes will reduce to an extent, but let me blunt it will not end. That is why the Narendra Modi government has vowed to revolutionize the food processing industry to help farmers who often suffer due to crop damage. The Government has chartered out a plan to move towards achieving the goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022 and has made a road map for striking price volatility of TOP (Tomato, Onion and Potato) in the country. Allocation for the Ministry has been doubled in the current Budget 2018-19 to Rs. 1400 crore. Recently I have noticed, FSSAI has increased it vigilance and every now and then new amendments or policies are being rolled out. Let it be colour coding food in schools to tackle the menace of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, or modernizing food testing laboratories across the country, bringing newer packaging rule or amending polices on food products or nutraceuticals. Until the Maggi episode most consumers were not aware of FSSAI. But once it hit the national headlines, consumers started checking FSSAI labels on food packets before buying them. Today the food safety authority remains in news every now and then. Also it has changed its attitude towards the industry, as it realised that to ensure food safety it is important to work with the companies. Working together would not only to improve practices, but also improve the entire ecosystem. Second Important step taken by FSSAI was to build the consumers’ confidence. To establish itself as a trustworthy regulator for both citizens and food companies, the regulator streamlined regulations: reduced the regulatory burden on food companies, ensured single-window clearance for food importers, and made inspection risk-based, where “everything needed to be tested’’. Today the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has a stand both globally and locally; and to think not long before it was considered to be an authority that had no say in any safety issues but yes body of the government. According to research by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research India’s long peninsula, temperatures may rise by as much as 6° Celsius by the end of this century. On the top of it, higher temperatures and depleting water levels will impede the nutritional value of harvests, particularly rice and wheat. And higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to protein deficiencies. In a few decades, as many as 53.4 million Indians may be at risk of protein deficiency. Of course the farmers in developing countries provide the bulk of the planet’s food, will be inexplicably affected by global warming. For this it has become of utmost importance to expand our food basket for the nutritional security of future generations. And millets can be the climate-resilient future crop for millions of Indians. They can counter the worst effects of climate change better than most other crops. Eminent agriculture scientist M. S. Swaminathan has been advocating for a greater reliance on millets, not only to provide better nutrition but to also ensure farmers are well-equipped to deal with climate change. Thus the Indian Government has made 2018 as National Year of Millets to boost production of the nutrient-rich millets and the agri industry involved in it. In fact it has forwarded proposal to United Nations (UN) for declaring year 2018 as ‘International Year of Millets’. The world is changing, people are changing and shifting too much in simple, faster way and technique to cook to save time that suits their busy schedule. But at the same time it is also moving towards natural products. Spices lend colour, taste and flavour. They are good source of anti-oxidants and have preservative as well as therapeutic power. India is a land of spices and herbs. Spice extracts offer an enrichment of flavour, colour, and taste to meet the diverse needs of food processing industry. India is a world superpower in oleoresins and demand from Argentina, Thailand and Indonesia is gaining momentum. The craze for “natural” things will continue to be the main driver for the oleoresins market. Despite China posing a major threat, India’s climatic conditions are superior and will be a source of competitive advantage for growing spices. Hotel Industry, manufacturers of Namkeens, Readymade masalas and sauces will continue to consume spice oleoresins. Spice oils and spice oleoresins may not find wide use in Indian kitchens for traditional foods, but can be targeted at working women so that they can save time. I can conclude this editorial by saying that food processing industry is a thriving sector that can solve so many of problems from food security to food wastage, from diseases to health; from artless food to divine food…….in simple word it’s an all-rounder.
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Paradigm Shift in
Food Regulatory Environment A comprehensive look on the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) effort and accomplishment
015 was the rebirth year of the Indian food authority. Why? Well it was in 2015, headlines such as “Nestlé Withdraws Maggi Noodles in India after Food Scare” were seen across national and international media. Indeed, initially six states and, subsequently, in June 2015, the national food safety regulator—the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned Maggi Noodles nationwide. The national ban was set up
after tests allegedly showed packets exceeded the legal limits for lead; additionally, FSSAI alleged that the product label falsely indicated no added monosodium glutamate (MSG). Nestlé recalled and destroyed over 25,000 tons of the products as a good will gesture but challenged FSSAI’s directive before the Bombay High Court (BHC). The company contended that the ban orders violated principles of natural justice, that laboratories conduct-
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
ing the tests were not accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), and that the Authority did not provide proper notification under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSSA). Another issue that grabbed headlines in 2014-2015 was the impounding of imported goods as mislabeled that provided FSSAI-required information by covering
global labels with stickers. There was no prior notice of this action and the use of such stickers had been standard past practice. Highly valuable consignments of chocolates, sauces, mayonnaise, edible oils, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, among others, were thus stuck at the ports. Additionally, requirements frequently were imposed without consideration of the nature of the product. For example, FSSAI insisted on a list of in-
gredients even for single ingredient food products. While many importers re-exported their products, or withdrew from the Indian market, some approached the courts for relief. FSSAI’s stance in the Maggi issue and on product approval and labeling requirements impacted India’s investment and business environment. In the Nestlé case, it was argued that FSSAI did not provide
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
a fair opportunity for a hearing and rectification (of the label) and that the ban was imposed in a non-transparent and arbitrary manner. Moreover, the Indian regulator failed to meet its own conditions— for example, while it mandated reports from NABL accredited labs, it relied on reports that did not fulfill these criteria. Regarding product approval and labeling issues, companies had little choice but to seek relief from the courts.
Courts took note of the implementation difficulties as well as the lacuna and penalties under FSSA, and provided relief to claimants while ordering reconsideration of the FSSA and its rules/regulations.
Indian Food Laws and Regulations The Maggi controversy was the main precursor that compelled the government and FSSAI to review the regulatory environment and administration of laws impacting food in India. Under India’s Constitution legislative powers are divided between the central government and the 29 states. “Foodstuffs including edible oil seeds and oils” and “Adulteration of foodstuffs and other goods” are subject to concurrent jurisdiction of the central government and the states: The central government passes the laws, and the states adopt and implement them. In the Maggi case, authorities in the state of Uttar Pradesh first tested and banned it, followed by five other states, and then the FSSAI banned it nationwide. Before 2006, food regulation in India was governed by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (PFA). The FSSA had the objective of shifting focus from just curbing food adulteration to an integrated science-based food law with a riskbased approach to food safety. FSSAI consolidated under its umbrella all older laws, rules, regulations, and orders related to food, providing food standards, and regulating and monitoring the manufacture, import, processing, distribution, and sale of food. The enactment of the FSSAI has been painfully slow with significant glitches in its operation, and its Scientific Panels and Central Advisory Committee (CAC). Applications for product approval/standard setting filed under the erstwhile PFA regime were transferred to the FSSAI but were left unaddressed as the manner of assessment and rules were not in place.
In 2008, FSSAI was established as an independent statutory authority under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH). In 2011, the FSSAI Rules and six regulations were released. The new regulatory regime raised significant concerns regarding FSSAI’s arbitrary and non-transparent procedures and frequent changes of regulatory requirements for food product approval, labeling, licensing, and import. The FSSA also lacked uniformity in implementation and harmonization with the internationally accepted Food Code standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex). Moreover, BIS and Legal Metrology have overlapping legal and regulatory requirements, which is a major barrier to providing an enabling environment for industry. In 2015, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP’s) Expert Committee on Regulatory Approvals under the aegis of Ease of Doing Business recommended that in absence of a specific Indian standard, the Codex standard should be the basis of approval until an Indian standard is developed. It also suggested establishing a regime of approved ingredients/food additives and products that do not require prior approval. The emphasis was on simplification and rationalization of the existing rules and introduction of information technology to make governance more efficient and effective. The FSSAI is aided by the CAC, which has representatives from industry
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
and government, ensuring close cooperation between FSSAI, enforcement agencies, and organizations operating in the field of food. The CAC also advises FSSAI on developing its work program, identifying potential risks, knowledge sharing, and other issues. The Scientific Committee provides FSSAI scientific opinions (currently there are sixteen panels on subjects such as labeling, additives, nutraceuticals, contaminants, milk products, water and beverages, etc.). FSSAI has also set up a Standards Review Panel to identify gaps in the existing Indian food standards as compared with international standards. When the administrator became friend Until the Maggi episode most consumers were not aware of FSSAI. But once it hit the national headlines, consumers started checking FSSAI labels on food packets before buying them. For the next six months, FSSAI stayed firmly in the news, courtesy the courtroom battles between Nestle India and the food regulator. And then things changed and it was an unexpected handshake, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) agreed with Nestle India Ltd to establish a food safety institute in India that will train officials of FSSAI as well as other companies in food safety. A little more than two years ago, FSSAI had accused Nestle India of selling unsafe instant noodles. The Manesar-based Nestle Food Safety Institute was inaugurated by FSSAI chief executive officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal. The institute, a replica of the Swiss company’s units in China, and Lausanne, Switzerland, will conduct training programmes on food safety management systems, testing methods and regulatory standards in India.
has asked the units to have at least one food safety expert trained. Educational institutes and the National Skill Development Authority will finalize short courses and conduct training.
A regulator’s job is to keep companies under its ambit in check. So what led to the change in FSSAI’s mindset? Actually FSSAI realised that to ensure food safety it is important to work with the companies. Working together can not only to improve practices, but can also improve the entire ecosystem. A healthy, trustworthy relationship is required between the regulator and the companies and other stakeholders. When Agarwal took charge of FSSAI in December 2015, the food regulator was seen as a prosecutor, especially by multinational firms. Importers as well as foreign companies with manufacturing units in India suspected the administrator of being biased in favour of Indian companies. But consumers were happy the regulator had begun to take erring companies to task— something it hadn’t really done since its inception in 2011. Taking on public confidence Pawan Agarwal, after taking over as chief executive of FSSAI, did the most sustainable thing and worked hard on building public confidence that food available in the market was safe for consumption. It was a simple agenda: to establish FSSAI as a trustworthy regulator for both citizens and food companies, streamline regulations: reduce the regulatory burden on food companies, ensure single-window clearance for food importers, and make inspection risk-based, where “everything needs to be tested.” FSSAI started focusing on various kinds of edibles and potables: the quality of street food, food at restaurants, prasadam available at shrines, tap water provided by the government, food served by Indian Railways. They examined the packaging and labelling of food products. The food items consumed by the citizens daily finally came under the FSSAI lens.
And now for a year, FSSAI has notified multiple standards of food products and regulations for food businesses. It then shifted the focus to ensuring nutritious food, by educating every citizen about safe food. It also started revamping the infrastructure of food testing laboratories. It was clear that a different FSSAI was coming into its own. Reinforcement of surveillance The regulator’s main challenge was to ensure proper inspection and stop the misapplication of power. Comparatively there are about 18,000 food safety officers in the US and about 6,000 officers engaged in food inspection
in C a n a d a . These are all federal staff. And FSSAI did not have a single food inspector in its employ. In India there are wide variations from state to state. This is a challenge that the regulator is trying to address to move forward. Working with state governments, persuading them to have adequate number of food safety officers and some progress has been made. FSSAI is also building its own team of food inspectors and are building numbers at FSSAI headquarters and at regional offices. But FSSAI’s priority is to slowly inculcate self-regulation. Towards this, the agency recently finalized regulations on third-part audit of food businesses, and
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
FSSAI has decided to standardize the procedures around inspection. State-level food safety inspectors will have to follow centrally set standards. Agarwal has also restricted state-level food inspectors from divulging details to the media. Only FSSAI can do so. Making tests flawless FSSAI is also overseeing the modernization of food testing laboratories across the country. The regulator, which owns and operates two laboratories and has approved 82 others in various states, recently allocated Rs. 482 crore to strengthen the food testing infrastructure, including upgrading and modernizing laboratories. Under this scheme, 45 food testing laboratories across the country and 14 referral food testing laboratories will be upgraded, enabling them to obtain accreditation from National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). Besides, FSSAI will also set up 62 mobile testing labs. There are currently four mobile food testing labs in Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. At present, there are total 62 labs spread across the country, out of which, only 10 are accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories (NABL). The private sector has 150 labs which are all NABL accredited. Food authority is still facing problems with the poor quality of state labs for good reasons perhaps and is trying to improve these labs and have signed memorandum of agreement (MoU) with AOAC International here. As per the MoU, the AOAC International -a globally recognised standards developing organisation -will offer free access to the official method of analysis to the FSSAI. It will also support FSSAI in its capacity building programmes. However, the regulator is closely working with state governments to ensure the labs are strengthened and they come up to the standards that the country deserves. The FSSAI has decided to strengthen 45
the FSSAI said that the proposed rules are aimed at protecting consumer interests and help them make informed choices. Also, food products can be claimed to be fresh only if they are not processed in any manner except washed, peeled, chilled, trimmed or cut or have undergone other processing necessary to make the product safe without altering its basic characteristics in any manner—say the proposed rules.
state government labs with financial and capacity building training. The FSSAI is also pushing the balance 52 government labs to get the NABL accreditation in a year or so. Besides strengthening primary testing labs, the FSSAI is making efforts to put in place a network of appellate labs or referral labs in the entire food testing ecosystem. The referral labs are used for testing the samples in times of dispute. The regulator has supported providing equipment to six such labs and plans to support additional five labs. Also, the regulator has plans to put in place a dozen of them as national reference labs for doing proficiency testing and method development and validations. Basically, the reference labs would act as support structure. The FSSAI is also encouraging mobile testing labs. Already 30 such labs are in the field. They do rapid testing and are creating awareness about food safety, he added. The regulator has taken a big step and has decided to finally roll out the implementation of the Indian Food Laboratory Network system (INFoLNET) by the end of May 2018. InFolNet is the system that would connect all the referral, state and private labs notified by the country’s apex food regulator, which has also warned the facilities failing to connect with it of action. InFolNet is an initiative with bringing all the stakeholders to a common platform for the establishment of a transparent food testing network. While several demonstrations and training programmes
have been conducted by the apex food regulator across the country, it ruled that despite these, many labs failed to connect with the system. The benefits of the portal can be multitude. For the food businesses, all the testing laboratories shall have the same results. For the testing labs, each shall be linked by the type and number of testing services benefiting the clients, while this will be an added barrier of protection for consumers, in terms of food safety. What’s better is that this is mandatory for each laboratory, like food safety training and certification (FoSTaC) is for food businesses. FSSAI patent work in 2018 Rules for food products, businesses FSSAI has drafted rules of advertisements for food products that will bar food companies, restaurants and hotels from putting up ads that are “against” healthy lifestyles or portray packaged food as a complete replacement for a normal meal. As per the proposed regulations by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, food businesses cannot use words as “natural”, “fresh”, “premium”, “finest, “best”, “authentic”, “genuine”, “real” on food labels except under specific conditions. In this food businesses will not be permitted to advertise or make claims undermining the products of other manufacturers, so as to promote their own food products or influence consumer behaviour. Authorities in
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Promoting health in school Color coding food India’s food-safety regulator has proposed colour-coded rules to discourage certain “red” food, including samosas, French fries, ready-to-eat noodles and burgers, from school canteens and encourage “green” food such as wholegrain cereals, legumes, lean meat, fish and eggs. It has proposed rules that will require school administrations to ensure their canteens operate through licences and adhere to a colour-coded scheme and curb sales of high fat, sugar and salt food. The rules discourage red-coded food from school canteens, hostel kitchens and from being sold within 50 metres of school premises. State food authorities will be tasked with surveillance and inspections to ensure schools comply with the rules that also specify safety and hygiene requirements - for premises, utensils, food handlers and raw materials. The proposals
come amid concerns about growing prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents. As a 2016 review published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research had found that prevalence of overweight adolescents had increased from about 10 per cent before 2001 to 14 per cent after 2010. The rules also say state food authorities should “motivate schools” to adopt a comprehensive health-promotion programme and adopt a rating system that would recognise schools with high health standards and encourage other schools to follow suit. Vitamin D To address rising incidence of Vitamin ‘D’ Deficiencies (VDD), particularly amongst the young people, FSSAI has launched a unique initiative, ‘Project Dhoop’ in association with NCERT, NDMC and North MCD Schools. The initiative urges schools to shift their morning assembly to noon time mainly between 11 am and 1 pm to ensure maximum absorption of Vitamin D in students through natural sunlight. For Vitamin D, fish and fish products are
the only real food sources. For most Indians, Vitamin D is mainly obtained by exposure to sunlight without which deficiency is likely to occur. Sunlight’s action on cholesterol in the skin converts the cholesterol to Vitamin D via additional conversions in the liver and kidneys. Many factors can contribute to VDD such as overuse of sun screen, wearing clothes that cover most of the skin, and working inside all day in air-conditioned atmosphere and so on.
tary foods for older infants and young children) is aimed at additional energy and nutrients to complement the family foods derived from local diets by providing those nutrients that are either lacking or are present in insufficient quantities. The suitable raw materials prescribed under the draft include cereals, legumes, pulses, oil seed flours and oil seed protein products, animal source foods, fats and oils, fruits and vegetables, milk and milk products and other ingredients like digestive carbohydrates, protein isolates, probiotic ingredients, etc. Packaging The food safety watchdogs are setting new regulations for food packaging, covering boxes, bottles, pouches, and foil containers. A study by the FSSAI and the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) tested the quality of packaging materials manufactured in India and found that all of the samples did not meet the standards. The new regulations will govern materials and printing, and are “intended to make food companies more accountable,” Aluminum, copper, brass, glass, plastic, and tin are currently authorized for use in packaging and should conform to Indian Standards specifications. The “re-use” of tin and plastic containers is not allowed, Whitehead informed, in particular for packaging edible oil and fat. Further, specific rules apply to packaging for milk, dairy products, edible oil, fruits and vegetables, canned meat, and drinking water. Reducing clearance time FSSAI has been directed by the commerce ministry to clear import consignments of food products in about 48 hours at ports with a view to promote ease of doing business at trade
Supplements FSSAI has issued an amended regulations called the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2018, the regulations, relating to standards of formulated supplements for children (the draft has been notified as complemen-
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front. Currently, it takes as many as five to eight days to get import clearance for a food consignment. The move would help India improve its ranking in Trading Across Borders, one of the ten parameters of ease of doing business. India ranked 146th in Trading Across Borders component, out of 190 countries ranked by the World Bank in its latest report. FSSAI was also advised to carry out clearances under the risk management system. Under this system, import customs clearance procedure is carried out randomly as scrutinizing every paper and checking all the consignments increase logistics cost of traders. The move assumes significance as the Prime Minister’s Office has directed the ministry to take immediate steps on streamlining procedures for trade with a view to facilitate movement of goods across borders and improve India’s ranking in ease of doing business. Although the government has reduced the number of mandatory documents required for import and export of goods to three in each case, it takes time to get approval. As per the World Bank report on ease of doing business, India’s ranking has improved to 100th from 130th. Fats and Oils FSSAI has revised the existing standards for oils and fats and added new standards harmonised with those of Codex. In this regard, the apex regulator has issued a draft notification detailing the new standards and regulations for the oils and fats category. New standards have been issued for palm stearin, palm kernel olein, palm
kernel stearin, superolein, avocado oil and inclusion peroxide value in the standards of all vegetable oils. The existing standards of kachighani mustard oil and palm oil (with regard to melting point) and vanaspati have also been revised. It is a wise move on the part of FSSAI. These were the needs of the oil industry. By these regulations, we could have a proper gradation of the oils, and the consumer will have a clear idea about what he/she is buying. The peroxide value is a vital parameter to assess the quality of edible oil, and so should be included in the safety parameter. The fatty acid composition is an important and reliable index to ascertain the authenticity of the oil. Nowadays, various fractions of palm oil are widely used in the different bakery, confectionery and chocolate products and are getting imported too. So their specification is also required. The draft regulations revised the standards of rapeseed oil (toria oil) or mustard oil (sarsonkatel). According to the draft, this oil should be extracted from clean and sound mustard seeds belonging to the compestris, junceaornapus varieties of Brassica. Aligning licensing norms with GST The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is working on amending the registration and licensing regulations for food businesses. It will look at reclassifying food businesses on the basis of their turnover, in a bid to align these norms with GST. The amendments will include classification of licences for food businesses on the basis of turnover in line with GST and MSME norms. All food business operators need to register with, or obtain licences from, the authorities at the State or
Central level. But small food business operators with a turnover of Rs. 12 lakh, also known as ‘petty food manufacturers’, are only required to register but not obtain a licence.
farms in their vicinity adhered to organic-cultivation practices. This programme was implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through the National Centre of Organic Farming.
The regulator proposes to raise the turnover limit for ‘petty food manufacturers’ to Rs. 20 lakh in line with the GST norms. In addition, it proposes to reduce the number of kind of businesses (KOB) categories from 17 to 8 categories.
The Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), in a letter to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), said the notification on organic foods issued on December 29 last year, which makes certification mandatory for all barring a small set of farmers, would serve as a major impediment that deter farmers from shifting to organic farming.
Organic farming FSSAI claims that companies not sticking to standards can be prosecuted and coming this July it would be illegal to sell organic food that was not appropriately labelled so.
The regulation could deter farmers to shift to, and pursue safer food production systems, because it will involve higher burden on farmers, beyond their financial and other capabilities. FSSAI should have waited out the implementation of its new regulations until something like this is put into place by State agriculture departments and Union Agriculture Ministry, it said.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had issued regulations that required food companies selling organic produce to get certified with one of the two authorities — National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) or the Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India). Companies could also get a voluntary logo from the FSSAI that marked its produce as ‘organic.’ Labelling on the package of organic food shall convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product. Such product may carry a certification or quality assurance mark of one of the systems mentioned along with the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India’s organic logo. These rules were finalised after almost a year of being sent out as a draft for public comments. For nearly two decades now, organic farming certification had been done through a process of third party certification under the NPOP. It was run by the Ministry of Commerce and was used for certifying general exports. Nearly 24 agencies were authorised by the NPOP to verify farms, storages and processing units and successful ones got a special ‘India Organic’ logo. The PGS-India programme, in contrast, had been around for only two years and — unlike the top-down approach of the NPOP — involves a peer-review approach. Here, farmers played a role in certifying whether the
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It further said that there was no justification for giving the exemption to only “small” producers – this exemption should be extended to all organic farmers of the country, and their collectives. ASHA also proposed that the regulator should exempt all those organic producers whose stocks are getting marketed through retail outlets that have directly sourced the produce from such organic farmers, without any intermediaries and are directly selling to end consumers (B2C). FSSAI plans labelling of GM foods
There is the need to crackdown on sale of all genetically modified food in Indian supermarkets and initiate prosecution against those violating the law.The GM foods are not permitted to be sold under the Indian Food Safety and Standards Act. But certain brands of imported packaged food are openly being sold.The label on various products says ingredients could be genetically modified, in various stores in locations all over the country such as Bengaluru, Noida and Mumbai. Neither Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), nor FSSAI have approved any of these. So the regulator has decided to make it mandatory for food business operators (FBOs) to declare whether their food products contain any ingredient that is a genetically-modified organism (GMO). It is working on a comprehensive regulation regarding labelling norms for food products in India, has compiled the draft, which will be put out for stakeholders’ consultations soon. With these regulations, the debate on GM 19 xfood 15 cmlabelling, which was raging in
the country, and questions about many products that could have been sourced from the GMO crops sold in India, could possibly laid to rest. FBOs now have to declare it on the labels if their products contain any ingredient which is sourced from GMOs and has at least five per cent presence in the product. Under the new norms (which will be out soon), FBOs have to label such product mentioning specifically the presence of GMOs, if they contain five per cent of such ingredients. E-Commerce tangle FSSAI recently shot a letter to e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Shopclues for violating the norms for sale of the food items produced by the direct selling entities. FSSAI said that the Indian Direct Selling Association had brought to FSSAI’s notice that health supplements and food items produced by direct selling entities were being sold on
e-commerce platforms without the producers’ prior consent. The e-commerce sites were charged of violating the guidelines prescribed by the department of consumer affairs in 2016 wherein a person needed to have prior approval from direct selling entities in order to sell such products. There has been a model guideline issued by the department of consumer affairs in 2016 wherein clause 7/6 (Conduct for the protection of consumer) of the said guidelines specifically stipulates that ‘any person who sells or offers for sale, including on an e-commerce platform/market place, any product or service of direct selling en-
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tity must have prior written consent from the respective direct selling entity in order to undertake or solicit such sale or offer.” While directing the e-commerce sites to have prior written consent, Singh insisted, “In the interest of maintaining the food safety chain, e-commerce portals may ensure that the products of DSEs sold or offered through their e-portals have prior written consent of concerned DSEs as per the guidelines of DCA. A point worthy of noting is that recently the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) issued a circular to Food Safety Commissioners of all states and Union Territories, informing them about the simplification of the FBO (Food Business Operator) registration process, for the direct selling industry. Good Samaritan FSSAI hopes to go beyond its mandate of ensuring safe and standardised food and has started a novel initiative of pooling fragmented individual and institutional efforts of retrieving, collecting and donating food to the needy with the launch of an online platform called Indian Food Sharing Alliance (IFSA). Intended at reducing food wastage that happens after due processing and at food service businesses in the country, the initiative will soon be piloted in Delhi. The authority’s aim is to build an eco-system of food donors, recovery agencies, etc. and integrate all efforts, in order to make the system transparent, the plat-
form will have a geotagging provision by which people will be able to know where the food collected is distributed. With IFSA becoming a reality, FSSAI will also launch two campaigns to educate and create awareness about food donation. Effect of FSSAI’s vigilance To set standards and regulations, FSSAI primarily follows the example of the US Food and Drug Administration. Experts say this is not enough. FSSAI had asked the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), a public-private initiative of the World Bank Group, to advise it on international engagements. Donald Macrae, senior consultant on regulatory reform, World Bank Group, submitted a report arguing that FSSAI needs to look beyond food regulations in the US and learn from middle-income countries such as Vietnam and China. Only this will ensure food safety across the country. The report lists the areas India can benefit from others’ examples. FSSAI can learn about the impact of slow urbanization, and how to help significant rural populations, from countries like Vietnam. It could learn how to scale up from China. FSSAI should emulate the UK in matters like regulatory delivery, third-party certification, risk-based inspection and planning, consumer focus and trust. It should look at the Netherlands and New Zealand for risk communication and compliance support. For FSSAI, the regulatory objective is to ensure a supply of safe and wholesome food, not to ensure a reve-
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
nue stream of fines for violations. Under Agarwal FSSAI is focusing on the new approach of “supporting those willing to comply, in order that their challenges in complying are overcome and they then deliver safe and wholesome food. This focus is in line with what is happening across the world and FSSAI is being truly innovative in tackling this new approach. In fact FSSAI is currently establishing a Food Safety Standards Review Panel to identify gaps in the existing standards for safe and nutritious food in comparison with international standards. The authority is also introducing third party auditing and food inspections. Additionally, food recall regulations are expected. FSSAI is also strengthening the capacity of food safety labs and of master trainers in food safety standards as well as overhaul its inspection procedures. The aim is to make the regime self-regulatory and reduce business perception of harassment. According to news reports, the food regulator will implement more structured procedures to avoid ad hoc inspections while adding 200 inspectors at the central level. Surveillance will be tightened at the state level as well. FSSAI is likely to divide food into five risk categories; food in lower risk categories will be inspected less frequently. Overall, FSSAI has indeed taken huge strides and the hope is that a fair, transparent, meaningful, and predictable regulatory environment for food will be established.
A brief outloo oil and oleoresi
pice derivatives include spice oils, spice oleoresins and essential oils that are put to various uses in different industries. Spice oils and oleoresins form an important part in our foods. The oleoresins present are the â€˜true essence of the spiceâ€™ and consists of the volatile essential oil and the nonvolatile resinous fraction containing total flavour of the spice. Oleoresin can replace whole of ground spice in food and flavour formulations without spoiling any flavour characteristics. It has great advantages as compared to spices. Hence oleoresins are largely used for flavoring of food particularly by large scale food processing
and flavoring industries like meat canning, sauces, soft drinks, pharmaceutical preparations, perfumery and soap, tobacco, confectionery and bakery. The demand of spice oils and oleoresins in the developed countries is increasing day by day as more and more spicy snacks are being introduced by fast food chains with standardized tastes. The spice
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oils and oleoresins are especially suitable for such snacks in that they can be used very conveniently (without any handling of the raw spice like ginger, chilli, onion, etc.) and producing a standardized effect on taste. This is the reason practically all plants in India, numbering to more than twenty five per cent exporting their products to these nations. The demand is increasing and more and more plants are being commissioned for 100 per cent ex-
k on the spice n market in India
port. Spice derivatives are widely used in pharmaceutical industry, beverage industry, food processing industry and chemical industry. Analysis There is a continuing and expanding international demand for herbs, spices and essential oils. Social changes, including food diversification, the desire for new flavours, increasing importance of “eth-
nic” food and the increased importance of processed food, which requires condiments and aromatic herbs for its preparation, are driving an increase in this demand. Developing countries have a significant opportunity to benefit from this increasing demand. Many of the products can be sold in a dried form or as extracts (e.g. essential oils), which gives them a high value per unit weight. These products could be a profitable source of diver-
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
sification for small farmers in developing countries. Spices and condiments are defined as “Vegetable products or mixtures, free from extraneous matter, used for flavouring, seasoning or imparting aroma in foods.” Herbs are a subset of spices, generally derived from fresh or dried leaves, but in this guide no distinction is made between spices and herbs, in keeping with the International Standards Organization (ISO) definition. Essential oils or
extracts are also de- rived from these plant sources either as a primary processing or a secondary opportunity. Spices are used for flavour, colour, aroma and preservation of food or beverages. Spices may be derived from many parts of the plant: bark, buds, flowers, fruits, leaves, rhizomes, roots, seeds, stigmas and styles or the entire plant tops. The term â€˜herbâ€™ is used as a subset of spice and refers to plants with aromatic leaves. Spices are often dried and used in a processed but complete state. Another option is to prepare extracts such as essential oils by distilling the raw spice material (wet or dry), or to use solvents to extract oleoresins and other standardized products. Essential oils are liquid products of steam or water distillation of plant parts (leaves, stems, bark, seeds, fruits, roots and plant exudates). Expression is used exclusively for the extraction of citrus oil from the fruit peel, because the chemical components of the oil are easily damaged by heat. Citrus oil production is now a major by-product process of the juice industry. An essential oil may contain up to several hundred chemical compounds and this complex mixture of compounds gives the oil its characteristic fragrance and flavour. An essential oil may also be fractioned and sold as individual natural components.
Other processing options can also produce further products that can be sold alongside essential oils. The plant parts can be extracted with organic solvents to produce oleoresins, concretes and absolutes or extracted with a near or supercritical solvent such as carbon dioxide to produce very high quality extracts. These oleoresins and extracts contain not only the volatile essential oil but also the concentrated non-volatile flavour components and these have wide application in the food and pharmaceutical industries. The solvent extraction processes are more difficult and complex than steam distillation and will normally be beyond the financial resources of most small scale processors, but supplying the raw materials to these extraction plants can be a market option. The most important spices traditionally traded throughout the world are products of tropical environments. The major exceptions to this group are the capsicums (chilli peppers, paprika), and coriander which are grown over a much wider range of tropical and nontropical environments. Production of spices and essential oils in these wet and humid environments brings special difficulties for crop and product management. Drying the crop to ensure a stable stored product is of particular importance, and in wet humid environments this creates the need for efficient and effective drying systems. Paprika and chilli oleoresins are the innovations that have become immensely popular in the last few years. Research to find new applications and new markets for spice oleoresins is lacking and this gap needs to be filled. The Indian fetish for spices has largely been unexplored. To cite an example, Masala powder (cardamom, cashew, pepper) for preparing masala milk is available. An oleoresin containing
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cardamom, cashew, and pepper may find acceptance in the Indian market. Oleoresins are the concentrated form of spices where you get the wholesome flavour and aroma of the spice. Spice oleoresins are characterized by high potency of active components which enables their usage in small dosages. Spice Oils and Oleoresins can be used to advantage wherever spices are used, except in those applications where the appearance/ filler aspect of spice is important. Usage of spice oleoresins leads to standardisation in taste and consistency in flavour. Oleoresins find application in Beverages, Meat Canning, Confectionery, Sauces and Pharmaceuticals. They are also used as a base for a number of seasonings. Technological Aspect Generally, extraction of spice oils and oleoresins using a non-aqueous solvent is a small scale operation. For easy standardization of oleoresins, the spice oils need to be distilled first. Then the oleoresins are extracted using solvent. The spent residual meal after extraction can be used in animal feed formulation. The oleoresin extract is mixed with the dry spice oil to the required level to produce spice oleoresins before they are finally packed. Process control is vital to get a uniform product in every batch. Delicate processing under controlled conditions of temperature is a must to maintain the freshness and flavour of spices. Solvents that are used for extraction of spice oleoresins are Ethylene dichloride, Acetone, Hexane or alcohol. Stripping off residual solvent at the final stage of preparation of oleoresins is crucial. The choice of solvent governs the ratio of spice constituents that are extracted. Example â€“ highly coloured turmeric oleoresin without characteristic odour of turmeric can be obtained or a low-coloured product having highly aromatic smell of ground turmeric in a liquid state can also be produced. Super critical fluid extraction (SCFE) is a sophisticated method for extracting spice oleoresins. It is a two-step process where Carbon di oxide is used as a solvent above its critical pressure and temperature for extraction of various natural materials. In this process, there is no residual solvent. Correct extraction technology is a must to make the product with the right flavour profile. Identification of components in spices that give optimum flavour potency is a must. A combina-
tion of technology and innovative manufacturing practices is essential to get the desired properties of final product. Due to food safety laws, use of solvents and residual solvent limits in the final product is becoming more and more a concern for food industry. To overcome this, technologies like SCFE are becoming popular. The growing Market The Global spice oleoresin market is $ 1 million. The global requirement of various oleoresins – paprika, chilly, turmeric, pepper, ginger, and cardamom is about 15000 tonnes. India with its favourable climatic and soil conditions for growing spices and semi-tropical herbs is in the forefront among the spice producing countries. The Indian spice oleoresin market is about Rs.600 crores. India accounts for 70 per cent of the world oleoresin production with competition from China, US, Lanka, South Africa and Latin America. Brazil, China and India are the market leaders. Kochi in Kerala with its spice farms is the hub of oleoresin manufacturing. Spice oleoresins have to meet global standards when they are exported. Solvent residues in the oleoresins should not exceed 30 ppm. Demand of this product can be attributed to a sharp rise in the snacks and fast food industry for producing a standardized effect on taste. Chilli oleoresins contain two active components – capsaicin for pungency and paprika for colour. China used to import chilli oleoresins from India. Today they are exporting to the world. These are used in sauces. China has started growing chilli and is a leader in manufacturing chilli oleoresins. Many companies in India withdrew from this trade as they were unable to face the onslaught of competition from China and Spain”. Synthite is an Indian oleoresin extraction f i r m that
produces oleoresin spices, essential oils, food colours, and sprayed products. The company based in Kochi has 30 per cent of the world’s market share but is upbeat about the prospects of spice oleoresin industry in India. The market for spice oleoresins is largely untapped and Indian homes are still not familiar with the product. Urbanisation and the trend of more women stepping out of their homes to contribute to the family income will encourage the use of products like oleoresins. Synthite has always focused on B2B but now we have decided to look at B2C too. Look at the popularity of instant foods in the market by players like Eastern, Unilever, and ITC.
These products are using spice oleoresins. There is the need to develop expertise in logistics and supply chain to run the B2C model. An aggressive marketing campaign is vital to promote wide awareness. Spice Oleoresins offer the following advantages • Consistency in flavour • Not affected by bacterial contamination • Much longer shelf life • Easier storage and handling • Full release of flavour during cooking • Easy blendability to achieve the desired features The usage of spice oleoresins is not without its limitations. There is low awareness about the product in the Indian market. Oleoresins are highly concentrated and so they need to be used in diluted form. While oleoresins can be used for Italian, Mexican and other continental dishes, surprisingly not much has been done to take spice oleoresins to the Indian kitchen. Research needs to be done to explore use of oleoresins in dishes like sambar, rasam, lassi and dal. The level of research in these areas has been sub-optimal. In India, the exorbitant price of spice oleoresins is a major stumbling block in its usage in India. Home users will need a small quantity of spice oleoresins. There can be a logistical challenge to distribute small
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quantities. E-commerce is an option, but how many people in the non-metros are net savvy and as of now, oleoresins are considered more of an industrial product. Indian homes can use them, but one has to create greater awareness about the same. A small quantity of oleoresins can match the flavour, taste and pungency of a large quantity of spice powder. Spice oleoresins can also be used in tooth pastes. But in the larger scheme of things, oleoresins are cheaper. For example in the preparation of Biryani, de-husked cardamom is sprinkled and the point of contact with the food is only for 4 to 5 seconds and a flavour of 15 to 20 per cent is locked. We tend to swallow the cardamom before chewing it and thus the full flavour is not released. So, we end up using only 15 per centof cardamom flavour. But when we use cardamom oleoresin, we can use dosage control to get a standardised taste and consistency. Roughly 50 kg cardamom would be required to extract 1 kg of cardamom oleoresin. If we assume that seeds cost Rs. 700 a kg, the price of cardamom oleoresin may be Rs. 7000 a kg. However, the oleoresin will be needed in minute quantities with an assurance of full release and 100 per cent usage of cardamom flavour. Also it is possible to create the desired level of taste and pungency using the right dosage of chilli oleoresins. There may be 200 product codes; each code may correspond to a level of active ingredient. Better dosage control and consistency can be achieved by selecting the right code. The pungency in a green chilli may vary from chilli to chilli but chilli oleoresin will offer consistent pungency and standardised flavour. Different codes can be used to vary the taste and beat the monotony.
26 Conclusion The world is moving towards natural products. Spices lend colour, taste, and flavour. They are good source of anti-oxidants and have preservative as well as therapeutic power. India is a land of spices and herbs. Spice extracts offer an enrichment of flavour, colour, and taste to meet the diverse needs of food processing industry. Out of the 109 spices listed by the ISO, India produces as many as 75 in its various agro climatic regions. Overall, spices are grown in some 2.9 million hectares in the country. India is a world superpower in oleoresins and demand from Argentina, Thailand and Indonesia is gaining momentum. The craze for “natural” things will continue to be the main driver for the oleoresins market. Despite China posing a major threat, India’s climatic conditions are superior and will be a source of competitive advantage for growing spices. Research facilities in CFTRI, Mysore, RRL, Thiruvananthapuram and Spice board of India lend great strength to oleoresins industry in India. Hotel Industry, manufacturers of Namkeens, Readymade masalas and sauces will continue to consume spice
for expanding the market to include caterers, wedding catering agents, industrial canteens and the housewives.Food safety will assume greater significance in the future.
oleoresins, but spice oleoresins will find little use in the Indian kitchen. Indian women are more attached to spice powder. Further, oleoresins need dilution before they are used. Foods like pav bhaji will be tastier with chilli powder than with chilli oleoresins.. However the South Asian food markets where there is dominancy of non-vegetarian foods and sauces will lap up the oleoresins quickly. Currently the focus in on export markets and the industrial segment like hotels, bakeries, and pizza shops. There is scope
There is a gradual preference for pesticide-free organic products but their high price is proving to be a major stumbling block. The challenges of pesticide residues in extraction of oleoresins need to be addressed immediately and Spices Board is working to create greater awareness to understand this risk and mitigate the same. Indians are known to prefer freshness in their gastronomic pursuit. In the absence of research, spice oleoresins may not find wide use in Indian kitchens for traditional foods. Indian women pride on their culinary skills and they may not subscribe to the theory of standardised taste. The oleoresins can be targeted at working women so that they can save time. Instant foods available in the market are also exorbitantly priced. Spice oleoresins are niche products, so their applications also have to be in niche areas.
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Millet Revolution T
he Indian Government approved 2018 as National Year of Millets to boost production of the nutrient-rich millets and the agri industry involved in it. In fact, last in November India had forwarded proposal to United Nations (UN) for declaring year 2018 as â€˜International Year of Milletsâ€™.
run. Popularizing millets will also benefit future generations of farmers as well as consumers.
Making 2018 the Year of Millets will help in promotion of production and consumption of millets will substantially contribute in fight against targeted hunger and mitigate effect of climate change in long
Millet is a common term to categorize small-seeded grasses that are often termed Nutri-cereals or dry land-cereals. It mainly includes sorghum, ragi, pearl millet, small millet, proso millet, foxtail
Millets are smart food and good for consumers, farmers and planet; it has untapped uses such as food, feed, biofuels and brewing.
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millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet etc. They are adapted to harsh environment of semi-arid tropics. They require low or no purchased inputs, thus they are backbone for dry land agriculture. Millets are nutritionally superior to wheat and rice owing to their higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fibre and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous. It provides nutritional security and act as shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
The Indian Government has made 2018 as National Year of Milletsto boost production of the nutrient-rich millets and the agri industry involved in it It can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free and also have low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants. Millets are important staple cereal crop for millions of small holder dryland farmers. They offer nutrition, resilience, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times. They have multiple untapped uses such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing. Thus, millets are Smart Food as they are good for the Farm-
er and Planet. The most resilient feature of this crop is that it is photo-insensitive and resilient to climate change. They have low carbon and water footprint and can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs. In times of climate change they are often last crop standing and thus are good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers. Why reincarnating millet is important? Food insecurity and hunger is on the incline, particularly in developing countries
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like India. The looming menace of climate change in lowering farm productivity can make the situation worse unless immediate steps to grow more eco-friendly food are not taken. India is particularly susceptible to global warming, and rising temperatures make for poor harvests. According to research by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Indiaâ€™s long peninsula, temperatures may
declined.Millets were the major staple in central and southern India, as well as the mountain States since ancient times. This grain lost its luster and vanished from our plates, after the relentless advance of high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat, which consumed water and needed large amounts of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, harmful to the environment.
rise by as much as 6° Celsius by the end of this century. In the southern states, rice yields may decline by 5 per cent in the 2030s, 14.5 per cent in the 2050s, and 17 per cent in the 2080s, the ADB study predicts. This is bound to affect food security in India with climate change set to make food production in South Asia more difficult and push production costs upwards. Food shortages are expected to increase the number of malnourished children in South Asia by seven million. On the top of it, scientists have found that higher temperatures impede the nutritional value of harvests, particularly rice and wheat.According to Environmental Health Perspectives Greater,higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would lead to protein deficiencies. In a few decades, as many as 53.4 million Indians may be at risk of protein deficiency. The alarming part is that small farmers, herders and fishing communities in developing countries provide the bulk of the planet’s food, will beinexplicably affected by global warming. Renowned agriculture scientist M. S. Swaminathan has stressed that India is much in a need of a nutrition revolution. The architect of India’s Green Revolution has been advocating for a greater reliance on millets, not only to provide better nutrition but to also ensure farmers are wellequipped to deal with climate change. Calling millets ‘orphan crops,’ Swaminathan has called for greater investment in millet research to add variety to India’s food basket. Before the Green Revolution of the 1960s, millets made up around 40 per cent of all cultivated grains, contributing more than wheat and rice. Today the production of rice has doubled and wheat tripled since then, while that of millets has
Ironically even the Indian government became uninterested in harvesting millet and pushed only rice and wheat in the public distribution system, rendering the cultivation of millets economically unviable. This resulted in high consumption of polished rice and refined wheat flour, which are nutritionally poor and bad for ecosystems as well.
But increasing global temperature and depleting water level has made many realise that India could never be a two-grain nation. There is a huge need to expand our food basket for the nutritional security of future generations. And millets can be the climate-resilient future crop for millions of Indians. They can counter the worst effects of climate change better than most other crops. Since millets require much less water than other crops — pearl and finger millets, for instance, can grow well with a fourth of the rainfall that rice requires — they are much better adapted for droughts. Superior grain Millets are known for their climate-resilient features, including the ability to adapt to a wide range of ecological conditions, low irrigation requirements, better growth and productivity even without fertilisers and minimal vulnerability to environmental stresses. Millets are also nutritionally superior to other major cere-
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als because they are rich in dietary fibres, resistant starches, vitamins and essential amino acids. Due to its high resistance against harsh conditions, millets are sustainable to the environment, to the farmer growing it, and provide cheap and high nutrient options for all. Nearly 40 per cent of the food produced in India is wasted every year. Millets do not get destroyed easily, and some of the millets are good for consumption even after 10-12 years of growing, thus providing food security, and playing an important role in keeping a check on food wastage. Millet is fibrous in content, has magnesium, Niacin (Vitamin B3), is gluten-free and has high protein content. It would be rather difficult to convince people to change their diets, but the scene for millets might be changing for the better. The Food Security Act has stipulated that beneficiaries of India’s public distribution system, which constitute about 813 million of the country’s poorest, will get millets at Rs.1 per kg. But framing a law is not enough. The government must ensure that millets are adequately available at fair price shops. Today millets are considered the last crop standing, and that is why the central government asked the U.N. to declare 2018 as the International Year of Millets. Magic of millets Farmers and development agencies ignored these cereals in favour of rice, wheat and other crops such as oilseeds and pulses. Millets can grow in poor soil conditions with less water, fertiliser and pesticides. They can withstand higher temperatures, making them the perfect choice as ‘climate-smart’ cere-
profitability. Production of millets stood at 16.14 million tonnes in 2016-17, of which, minor millets such as foxtail and kodo millets was 4.5 lakh tonnes. Marketing challenges A collective, or cluster marketing approach, is seen helping growers, while individual farmers are facing issues in selling their produce. The prices are very low in the APMC mandis. Karnataka has extended a support of Rs. 2,500 per acre for farmers to bring in more area under minor millets. The government should also bring millets under the ambit of crop insurance. als. As against the requirement of 5,000 litres of water to grow one kilogram of rice, millets need hardly 250-300 litres. Small millets such as kodo and kutki, among others, have a cultivation history of 3,000-5,000 years and were major food crops once upon a time. They could be the potential new tools for the government to fight socio-economic issues such as malnutrition and rural poverty while address-
ing sustainability concerns. Millets are grown in about 21 States. There is a major impetus in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. The plan now is to push millets in Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland because it is a major staple diet for the tribes in that region. In 2016-17, the area under millets stood at 14.72 million hectares, down from 37 million ha in 1965-66, prior to the preGreen Revolution era.This decline was largely due to change in dietary habits (induced by a cultural bias against millets post-Green Revolution), low-yield of millets, and conversion of irrigated area towards rice and wheat. Though farmers have been cultivating major millets such as jowar, bajra and ragi, production has been volatile largely due to concerns over low productivity and
It is important that millets should go beyond being fashionable for the urban elite, or for those dealing with lifestyle ailments. In fact the government should make a concerted effort to push these grains through the PDS. At least a part of the rice/wheat should be replaced with minor millets. There is a need to promote the production of more millet by providing a price support to farmers as there’s not only a social dimension, but also nutritional and environmental aspect associated with these cereals. Promoting millets could help governments save expenditure on health and nutrition. While jowar, ragi and bajra, among others, are already under the ambit of the minimum support price (MSP), Prakash sees a scope for including more grains such as foxtail millet. From PDS to supermarkets Various States have been distributing millets such as bajra, jowar and ragi through the public distribution system (PDS), along with other cereals such as rice and wheat. Efforts are now being done to include the nutrient-rich smaller millets in the mid-day meal schemes in government and government-aided schools in Karnataka and Telangana. Millet awareness is catching up fast in the urban centres such as Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi among others. Millets are gluten-free and have a low glycemic index. Their micro-nutrients composition is also better as compared to rice or wheat. Millets are gaining ground in wheat-dominated North India among which ragi (finger millet) is most popular, followed by bajra (pearl millet) and jowar (sorghum). Also becoming popular among health-conscious, educat-
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31 ed city dwellers in North India are foxtail millet and barnyard millet. The rise in consumption of iron and calcium-rich ragi in Gujarat has led to the increase in the State’s area under finger millet by a third to around 20,000 hectares over the past eight years. Eastern Gujarat, which predominantly houses tribal population, has been the heartland for ragi, but consumption has been growing in other parts of state. Innovation in products made out of millets right from baby foods, breakfast cereals to bakery products, desserts, ice cream and even liquor, is fuelling consumption. Millet-based brews, which were common in the North-East, have now found their way into urban centres, where breweries are trying various grains such as ragi to kraft beers. Corporates and start-ups Companies, on their part, are trying to ride this emerging trend. Large players of packaged staples and processed food manufacturers, such as ITC and Britannia, among others, and a host of start-ups, have already introduced millets in their product-mix. All millets are basically gluten-free nature and there is huge export demand for non-glutenous products. The renewed focus on millets is seen fuelling a start-up revolution and creating new jobs. Many of the entrepreneurs are mainly into retailing various millet-based products, while cafes serving millet-based foods are becoming popular in cities. IIMR, which has developed an exclusive brand for millets – Eatrite – has now started an incubator at its Hyderabad campus to promote start-ups working on ‘convenient’ millet foods. Eatrite brand of millet products, worth Rs. 50 lakh, are sold in cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. Surely, the millet bandwagon is rolling along.
A BIG QUESTION
ith the growing share of horticulture crops in the agriculture production basket—production of perishables exceeded foodgrain by a good 30 million tonnes (mt) in 2017-18— it is imperative that farmers are protected from recurrent price fluctuations. The food processing sector has a critical role to play here through value addition and helping farmers receive better prices. Currently, according to the food processing ministry, just about one-tenth of India’s agriculture produce is processed,
and the ministry aims to raise it threefold. Infrastructure gaps in cold chain and processing units also lead to a large wastage of agricultural produce. According to a study by the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana, India’s post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables were a staggering Rs. 31,500 crore. About 7-12 per cent of vegetable production was wasted before it reached the consumer, the study showed. A study commissioned by the National Centre for Cold Chain Development (NCCD) on assessment of gaps in cold
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chain infrastructure explained this wastage. It showed that India has created a storage capacity of 32 mt for fruits and vegetables, pretty close to the required capacity of 35 mt, but there are large gaps when it comes to transporting this produce to consumers. The study showed that farmers need over 70,000 pack houses and over 9,000 ripening chambers close to their farms before the produce could be transported to consumers. However, there are just 249 pack houses and 812 ripening chambers.
A BIG QUESTION
Food processing Industry has the power to end Indian farmers woes Against the requirement of around 62,000 reefer, or refrigerated vehicles, to transport perishable produce, only about 9,000 vehicles were plying. To address this problem, the centre in 2017 launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) with a financial outlay of Rs6, 000 crore for four years. The programme aims to build an efficient supply chain from the farm gate to the retail outlet by creating an integrated cold
chain and value addition infrastructure and expanding Indiaâ€™s food processing and preservation capacities. According to the food processing ministry, PMKSY is aiming to leverage investments of over Rs. 31,400 crore, handle farm produce worth over a trillion rupees, help about two million farmers receive better prices and generate about half-amillion jobs by 2019-20. However, some experts say Indiaâ€™s cultural habits and geo-climatic conditions dic-
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tate what consumers prefer to eat, limiting the growth of processed food industry. Food processing and the government The Narendra Modi government has vowed to revolutionize the food processing industry in the country to help farmers who often suffer due to crop damage. The Government has chartered out a plan to movetowards achieving the goal of doubling the income of farmers by 2022 and has made a road map for striking price volatility of TOP (Tomato, Onion and Potato) in the country. Allocation for the
A BIG QUESTION
ue of processed food export has increased to USD 13.9 billion on 2016-17 which constitutes 11.2 per cent of India’s total export. The Government has been able to bring central focus to food processing industry in terms of its potential to increase farmer’s income, provide employment and reduce wastage. Understanding Indian farmers’difficulties Despite all this positive outlook and steps taken by the government (as they claim), severe agitations were witnessed across states. And undoubtedly Indian farmers have genuine reasons to protest and demand government support.
Ministry has been doubled in the current Budget 2018-19 to Rs. 1400 crore. The government has resurrected the initiative ‘Operation Greens’ and is all set to crave a sustainable road map to ensure that Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) are available in every nook and corner of the country round the year without any price volatility. Of course a sum of Rs. 500 crore has been reserved for this purpose in the Budget 2018. India has created a storage capacity of 32 mt, pretty close to required capacity of 35 mt, but there are large gaps in transporting produce to consumers, so another vital step that the centre is planning to do is to compress the supply chains and creating appropriate climate infrastructure for natural preservation of Tomato Onion Potato (TOP) and promoting Farmers Producers Organizations, Agri Logistics Processing facilities, and professional management. The agri industry is the backbone of Indian economy which needs a catalyst to embark its growth. Though it has taken long time but the Indian government has recognised that this catalyst is none other than the food processing industry. Hence one of the most revolutionary steps in Budget 2018-19 was to allocate huge fund to this sector and to give impetus to establish Specialized Agro Processing Financial Institutions to unlock finance for establishing food processing industries. These institutions would help overcome the deterrents faced while installing food processing projects that are capital intensive and have long gestation period, by ensuring timely, accessible and affordable credit to this sector.
The thrust provided for promoting agri-clusters and Mega Food Parks in the Budget to strengthen farmers. The initiatives taken by the Government are: • Promotion of cluster based development of agri commodities and regions in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce and allied ministries; • 100 per cent income tax deduction from profit derived from activities such as postharvest value addition to agriculture to FPOs having annual turnover of Rs. 100 crore; • Setting up of state of art testing facilities in all the 42 Mega Food Parks to encourage export of agri-commodities realizing their full potential. The foreign investment that is FDI, in the sector added to its development and the World Food India 2017, organized by the Ministry of food processing, attracted participation from 61 countries, 60 Global CEOs and more than 200 global companies. The event essentially resulted in signing of MOUs worth US $ 14 billion, out of which projects have already started grounding their investments in India, worth close to US $ 4 billion. The FDI has been progressively increasing in the sector at a fast pace due to the support given by the Government . Food processing sector constitutes around 8 per cent and 10 per cent of Gross Value Added (GVA) in manufacturing and agriculture sector in 2015-16. Val-
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Farming is a very tough job with earnings that hardly measure up to the hard work and labor involved. In fact, annual earnings of a 3-acre farmer are much lower than an IT sector or corporate newbie. For Indian farmers, this boils down to survival each season. Today food production is not the trigger for an agricultural crisis. Global and local market instability is the current misery. Global explosion in food grain production has changed the market dynamics leading to pressure prices on the produce. While produce prices are constantly under pressure, costs are rising everyday thereby impacting farmer’s incomes, debt repayment capacity and their overall wellbeing. Contributing to the predicament is that the farmers bear the entire risk in the farm to market cycle. Let it be the outbreak of pests at production or losses in storage & transport or price uncertainty while marketing, the risk is not distributed evenly amongst other stakeholders like grain traders, aggregators or processors. Being an agricultural nation, our farmers deserve are worthy of more, much more. To create a more facilitating environment
A BIG QUESTION
feeding its population. While daunting, the situation provides a suitable ground for India to spur growth in its food processing sector.
it is very important to minimizing the risk for farmers and distributing it equitably across the agro-value chain. And provide a fair share of the value that is generated at the end consumer level reaches the farmer. The farmers’ impasse It is important to give a long term solution to the problems faced by the Indian farmers instead of short term rhetorical promises and reactive concessions. Progression can only be made if our government recognizes the macro challenges and act intellectually on it. Weak Producer - The farmer is not connected to aggregators, food processors and retail chains to help shape the nature of his produce. As a result, produce remains the same annually, largely dependent on farmers and is often driven by the government’s MSP program. This results in a disconnect amongst what the Indian farmer produces and what the consumer demands. Weak Supplier Power: The farmer is barely empowered as a supplier. He continues to be small & marginal, inadequately resourced, ill-informed on markets and marketing, ill-equipped to manage risk, burdened with credit & debts and is dependent on traders to reach the buyers.
rity needs of the country or commercial crops like cotton, sugarcane, chilies that feed into industries that produce consumable goods or even vegetables and fruits for domestic consumption or export crops - the same broad stroke policy measures are used across each segment. Truncated investment in Research & Development: Less than 1% of the Agricultural GDP in India is spent on research. That is extremely bad considering this sector is critical to food security of the country and provides livelihood to 60% of our population. Lack of infrastructure: There is a staggering lack of infrastructure across the entire agricultural value chain. To make matters worse, a perspective on how this can be fixed also does not exist. Betting on food processing By 2020, India is expected to be the most populous country in the world. As grating as it may sound, the immediate challenge facing India is not fixing the economy but
Limited Technology: Lack of new technology solutions keeps the farmer from competing globally as the farmer is neither equipped with the latest technology nor trained to adopt it fast. Stale policies: Policy on different crops remains the same and have any weighty impact. Whether they are basic food grains, pulses and oilseeds that meet staple dietary requirements and food secu-
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Food processing industry is of enormous significance for India’s development. Firstly, it is the only sector that creates a direct and vital linkage between industry and agriculture. The GDP contribution of agriculture and allied sectors in India stood at $244.74 bn in FY16. Secondly, the sector has emerged as a fast growing sector making it one of the largest industries in India. Thirdly, and most importantly, it is a way to mitigate farmer distress and address food wastage concerning India. Despite the immense potential of food processing sector as a means to generate employment and increasing farmers’ income, it has been languishing for decades Creating a rural connect Over 40 per cent of India’s rural population still remains outside the rural road network. A study by the World Bank makes the point that the retail prices of low value/bulk commodities are generally 10 per cent higher in unconnected villages than in those with road access. A road link brings socio-economic benefits such as reduction in prices of agricultural and consumer products, access to markets, and employment opportunities. India produces 205 million tons of fruits and vegetables annually and is the second largest country in terms of farm production in the world. Unfortunately, only seven percent of what is grown gets processed. Currently, the sector lacks a fully automated supply chain solution connecting agro producers to end consumers. It
A BIG QUESTION
37 product approval and new formulations due to proprietary regulation issued recently by FSSAI. What is now required is to innovate in terms of newer products that will not only effectively procure raw fruits and vegetables, but will also jumpstart growth in the sector.
lacks basic infrastructure such as adequate grading and packaging centres, cold chains and warehouses, and sufficient modernized abattoirs. Measures such as increasing farmers’ income and doubling investments in food processing sector, as announced in the union budget 2018, will have a positive impact on industries that are connected to agriculture and allied sectors. Sustained efforts are needed on this front to spur further growth. With household consumption of India set to double by 2020, the Govt of India has launched and implemented specific schemes to different segments of the FPI such as establishment and modernisation of Food Parks, Grading and Packaging
Centres, integrated Cold Chain Facility and Modernized Abattoir. What is needed is carrying forward this momentum through active involvement of private players and foreign entities - recently Govt has allowed 100 per cent FDI in the sector. Additionally, firms can look into contract farming to secure supply. Any improvement in the infrastructure shall serve to reduce the wastages, improve the value addition to the end product, and make it more cost competitive. The food industry suffers from low investment in R&D; only a handful of companies have full-fledged R&D centres to bring out innovative products. In addition, there are regulatory challenges with new products. Only recently there has been clarity on
As consumers’ preferences shift to healthier products, owing to changing lifestyle and rise in disposable income levels, companies should look at offering more number of nutritional foods and beverages. In addition, better preserving and packaging techniques need to be developed that not only increase the shelf life but also improve the nutritive value of the processed food. Fast growth in the food processing sector has a key role to play in strengthening India’s economy by improving agriculture trade in both domestic and international markets. It holds immense relevance in ensuring food security of the country and is a crucial factor in reducing postharvest wastages. A thriving food processing industry is bound to give better returns and improve the livelihood of our farmers. It’s a tough way ahead, but not far! In 2018, India’s food processing sector is going to be a game changer.
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Agro & Food Processing May 2018
Imported foods making their way on Indian grocery road
ndia switching to large-scale food imports The colours, flavours and aroma of what India is eating these days have changedâ€”and dramatically in some ways. Imported food items, both fresh and processed, are filling shopping bags in cities and towns as the global food trade zeroes in on India as a prime market. Many items of regular, if not daily, consumption, from Washington apples to the Vietnamese basa fish, have insinuated themselves into the palate of Indians, most of whom appear to be unaware of their growing dependence on foreign food. Almost unnoticed, imported foods have been proliferating
and growing in volume, their rising graph reflecting growth of the Indian economy and emergence of a new consuming class. The class that the trade likes to describe as the â€œmodern Indian consumerâ€? a trendy, health conscious eater aware of global consumption patterns and ready to splurge that extra bit on foods seen as nutritious and of better quality. A few years ago, gourmet and imported products were only available in dedicated shops. The range of different products was very small and they were only accessible for the highest class of the population. The Indian market has come a long
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way since then. Consumers today have more choice than ever and the range of imported food is growing very fast every year. From pasta, olive oils and herbs to sweets, chocolates and cheeses, all gourmet products categories increase in the market with double figures for the last 8 years and they are not ready to stop especially with the opening up in September 2012 of the FDI in the retail market. When international products came to India they were niche products. The only access consumers had to taste international foods was in restaurants, but now, everything has changed.
Globalisation, rising disposal income and aspirations, consumer awareness and changing tastes make the demand rising for international foods all over India. Many stores started to stock imported food or create a corner in their shops with a proper marketing to attract the clients in these new categories. Nowadays, people want to find these products in store shelves and they want to cook them at home. Consumers are following food show on TV, downloading recipes online and post lots of reviews and comments on food blogs and others food websites. They are educated and familiar with many American, Mexican, Japanese, Lebanese and Mediterranean recipes. The changing trends of the market Itâ€™s a fact that imported food is growing in popularity among the Indian consumers. The consequence is that the market is changing especially for domestic manufacturers. As consumers ask for more and more international foods, manufacturers in India have no choice to develop similar categories to be competitive in the
market. They have the advantage to see what kind of imported products is accepted by the consumers, and take the opportunity to introduce similar products or flavours. The example of the pasta is very representative of that tendency. Seven years ago there were no pasta manufacturers in India. With the success of the product thanks first to Italian restaurants and then importers, we have now the Indian Sunfeast brand which has a bigger success in the market than imported pasta. With the same idea, before Lays decided to manufacture chips in India, the American brand Pringles imported sour cream and onion flavoured potato chips. Importers play a huge role in the opening up of the market for new food products. They offer a variety of choices to the consumer and introduce products which donâ€™t exist in India. New categories are rising and India opens up to international recipes. For example, before Monin was launched, there was no clear market for cocktails,
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mocktails o r coffee syrups. This encourages domestic manufacturers to become innovative! Kelloggâ€™s introduced strawberry flavour in cornflakes in India only after consumers discovered it through imports and developed a liking for it. The modern trade shopper is one who has stronger purchasing power and a willingness to buy a wider repertoire of categories and brands. This mix of affluence and experimentation is an invaluable asset for manufacturers seeking to introduce, grow and create categories. Class Eating According to various trade reports, the market for imported complementary foods is estimated to be close to $2.9 billion. Fresh fruits, dry fruits and nuts, olive oil and processed foods, like confectionery items, beverages and pasta products, etc., are the fastest growing items in this category.
here appears to be certain inevitability to food imports, given the size of the Indian market and its projected growth. Its $330 billion food market is expected to expand to $900 billion by 2020 while the current market for processed foods of $40 billion will increase to $300 billion in the next seven years. These are the figures that have left the global food industry salivating. The projection is that India, which is now the world’s 12th largest f o o d m a r -
ket will zoom ahead to the fifth place by 2025. In the nineties, when India was forced to lift its quantitative restrictions on imports of most food items, these products were mostly for the well-heeled elite class with high incomes. Retailers of these products were few and availability was erratic. Now, with more widespread affluence and a sizable chunk of professionals boasting disposable income in a comparatively young consuming population, the market dynamics have changed dramatically. Today’s consumers are demanding similar diets and products that are available in London, Toronto or Sydney—and getting those as the suppliers, the medium and the market make it so much easier. While imports of spices, dried fruits and nuts are skyrocketing, products like ginger and garlic are making a dramatic appearance on the import charts. Nuts, in particular, are big ticket item since India produces insignificant quantities of pistachios, almonds and cashews to meet the burgeoning demand. Raw cashew imports between April 2012 and September 2017 accounted for a steep outgo of Rs. 8,085 crore.
Tarun Arora of Mumbai-based IG International, a leading importer of fruits and vegetables, says, “The niche is an entire set of people who are health conscious and it cuts across class and other barriers. It has helped our company turnover to increase by 20 per cent annually in the last five years.” For instance, Kiwi, which was an unknown fruit to most Indians, is now selling well even at Rs. 200/kg merely because it is reputed to fight dengue. The nutritional pitch has been most successful with imported apples, which have broken the seasonality barrier. Apples, imported from China, Chile, US, New Zealand, Italy and Germany are available all the year round on practically every street of Indian metros and bigger cities. The leading categories in the market Leading category under imported foods is dairy products with cheese, creams and dips. This market for dairy products has increased of more than 140 per cent in 2013 with products which come from Australia, Europe, USA and New Zealand. The packaged food is an emerging category in the market. Sauces and chocolates are driving this segment. 60 per cent of the total packaged imported food market is dominated by chocolate products. Italy, Netherlands and Malaysia lead the imported chocolate market and together, these countries represent around 60 per cent of the total imports. The largest categories of imported foods remain fruits, vegetables and nuts which represent more
The trick of the trade is to look for a health angle and make it the selling point. One reason imported fruits have become popular in a price-conscious market like India is that these are reputed to be more wholesome, whereas Indian vegetables and fruits are known to be sprayed heavily with pesticides that lead to health problems.
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than 80 per cent of the total food imports. Retail space for imported foods has been increasing With the development of modern format in the retail market, space for imported food has been increasing over the years. Based on an average size, imported foods take up 15-20 per cent of the total organised retail space except for retailers which are dedicated to international products! The imported food market is becoming more and more competitive and retailers are asking for higher margins from importers. The category of gourmet products is actively promoting by retailers through various in-store marketing such as food festivals, tasting sessions into the stores. Retailers follow the consumption trends and adjust the merchandise assortment, pricing and marketing strategies accordingly. The main target is building loyalty and driving volumes through promotional activities. The profile of the consumer who purchases that kind of food is between the age group of 22 to 40 years and middle and upper-middle class women. That consumer is always looking for new international products, instant food and organic food. Rising Category New Entrants New companies are coming into the international food market, eager to bring the next big product in India. For example liquid smoke is the kind of product just a few would have heard in India. That liquid smoke allows consumers to get a barbecue flavour even without any outdoor cooking. Many products are born out of innovative food technologies that have emerged in others countries over the last few years.
ports, from Spain and Italy, growing at a smart clip of 30 per cent annually. The growth rate is expected to double in the wake of a focused campaign by the inter-governmental International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) on a series of events involving the media, the hospitality industry and schools. Imports in 2010-11 touched 42,000 tonnes valued at Rs 110 crore with extra virgin olive oil accounting for nearly 90 per cent of the value.
The Indian consumer’s palate is becoming more experimental but although it’s evolving with consumer education and the creation of greater awareness is the key to achieve deeper market penetration. Companies specialised in processed food items such as cake decorations, pastries, fondant, marzipan, cake sprinkles, chocolates and nonalcoholic beverages are entering in the market. Companies are looking for products that would make life easier for the consumer, things that are convenient and easy to cook/eat, but also attractive and affordable. OIL WARS Although India is one of the largest producers of oilseeds in the world, it still needs to meet half its requirement of cooking oil through imports. Herein lies a fundamental paradox: imports of cheaper edible oils have helped raise the per capita availability from 5.8 kg in 1992-93 to a substantial 17.5 kg in 2016-17 but this has also increased import dependency from just about 3 per cent in 1992-93 to 50 per cent at present. What do we import? The bulk of it is crude palm oil and RBD palm (77 per cent) and a bit of soybean oil (12 per cent) apart from crude sunflower oil (12 percent) and a minuscule amount of crude coconut oil. Over the past 20 decades the import lobby has been carrying on a campaign against coconut oil which was said to be high in cholesterol but is now making a comeback as discerning customers opt for the extra virgin quality which is enjoying a revival, especially abroad, for its many health benefits.
Sumit Saran’s agribusiness consultancy SCS Group has been involved in the promotion and he believes the high growth rates “reflect a structural change in the way the affluent middle class is changing its cooking and eating patterns”. Thanks to the health benefits it is supposed to confer, consumers across the country are happily paying Rs 10-20 more per kg for the imported fruit. But although the import trade and consultants are pushing the health and nutrition angle, there are questions about the quality of foodstuffs that come into the country. For one, many of the processed foods and items carry labels showing date of packaging and expiry affixed by the importing agency and not that set by the manufacturer. For many a consumer this undermines the credibility and quality of the product, and retailers admit there is customer reluctance and suspicion about such labelling. Who monitors the quality of imported foodstuff? All such imports come under the scrutiny of the Food Safety and Standards Author-
In any case, olive oil whose nutritional benefits are accepted universally has been the front runner in the league of healthy oils. In India, its presence has grown sharply over the past five years with im-
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41 ity of India (FSSAI). Its rules and regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 are detailed and, according to trade sources, onerous. But, oddly, since September 2010, FSSAI is regulating imports made only through Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata. Prior to this, foodstuff required a certification from the port health authorities that the product conformed to the standards and regulations of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (PFA) of 1954 and its rules of 1955, which were designed to keep out impure, unsafe and fraudulentlylabelled foods. However, as the trade itself concedes, certification is, even today, based mostly on visual inspection and records of past imports as most ports have very limited testing facilities. This leaves a loophole for the food trade. Vinod Kotwal, Director, CODEX, told that with the quantity and value of food imports increasing over the years, the authority is facing some tough challenges as its functioning gets more and more circumscribed. The other shortcoming is that no standards have been prescribed for fresh fruits and vegetables. With exports having been seen for long as the priority for the economy, the focus has been on meeting the standards abroad and not vice versa. As a result, imports appear to have found the entry barriers not insurmountable, especially since the average consumer typically assumes that all that comes from abroad is of superior quality.
FSSAI said it has brought the regulation with an aim to streamline the process of clearance of imported food in an efficient and transparent manner. These regulations lay down the procedure for clearance of food products imported into India. It includes provisions related to licensing of food importer; clearance of imported food by the Food Authority; storage, inspection and sampling of imported food.
Several factors make it appear that food revolution will be irreversible. Right now it involves just the creamy layer of society, the 250 million affluent Indians, who make up the global consuming class. However, the remaining 900 million will be added soon, declares an optimistic food consultant. For one, there is the accelerated urbanisation and the resulting demand for processed, packaged, branded and value-added food and beverage products; more cosmopolitan tastes and a new breed of working women and young mothers who have neither the time nor inclination to cook. “Most high-value imported foods are sold in metros and Tier-I cities,” points out Saran. “But some products like apples that are comparatively less temperature-sensitive and are able to maintain crispness even in ambient temperatures for five to seven days are making it to Tier-II and Tier-III cities.” His contention is that there are no rich or poor cities. “Each city, each area, has its share of rich and poor. So there always are discerning Indian consumers, who can afford imported produce and are willing
to pay a higher price for better quality.” FSSAI new rules for imported food items Imported food items with less than 60 per cent of shelf life left will not be allowed to enter Indian market as per the new regulations issued by regulator FSSAI. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) have notified the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulation 2017, making it mandatory for importers to obtain its license. “We are happy that FSSAI has been able to finalise the regulations for imports of food items. This will bring an end to all uncertainties regarding food imports into the country,” FSSAI CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal told. In the new regulations, which were notified earlier this month, the FSSAI said: “No article of food shall be cleared from the customs unless it has a valid shelf life of not less than 60 per cent at the time of import”. Shelf life means the period between the date of manufacture and the ‘Best Before’ or ‘Date of expiry’, whichever is earlier as printed on the label, FSSAI said. It specified that no person shall import any food article without an import license from the Central Licensing Authority in accordance with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011.
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Besides, the new regulations have provisions for laboratory analysis of samples of imported food, prohibition and restriction on food imports, and amenable food labelling provision for ease of trade. “The regulation also specifies the scheme for risk based sampling of imported food articles, which facilitates ease of doing business while not compromising the health of Indian public,” the regulator said. FSSAI further said that its officials at the customs can reject consignments which do not comply with the provisions of Labeling and Packaging Regulations, 2011 at the visual inspection, without drawing any sample. However, these rules will not apply to individuals bringing food items for personal use provided that the value of such products does not exceed the amount allowed by customs from time to time. Challenges for New Companies While consumer demand is attracting new companies and many new brands, operating in the Indian market remains challenging. The distribution network and the regulatory system are the two main reasons why international companies are still hesitated to enter into the market. The regulators have forgotten that the systems have been formulated for the benefit of the people in general. Even though FSSAI has good intentions, the procedure is too complicated, making business inefficient and increasing costs. Despite the challenges, Indian market holds immense potential, and therefore, cannot be ignored. Modern food retailing has been late to make its foray into India, and has had a few hiccups along the way, but the sector will make rapid inroads in the years to come.
Gourmet A new Snac
opcorn has been one of the most popular snacks in the world for a very long time - especially once movie theaters began â€œpoppingâ€? up. While the popularity of popcorn is not going to diminish any time soon, a new type of popcorn recently burst onto the scene in the last decade - gourmet popcorn. Hot and fresh popcorns from hawkers have been a simple joy that people of all demographics have enjoyed for years altogeth-
er. In cinema halls, the butter-salt variety became a staple. But gourmet popcorns -picture Sweet â€˜n Spicy Golden Cheese, Nutty Country Caramel or Jamaican Rum Choco-All-Ate -are getting more popular and fancier by the day in India. Butter popcorns still rule the roost as a snack for several cinema-goers even as cheese and caramel flavours are finding takers nowadays. The concept of gourmet popcorn is gaining momentum beyond the metro cities. As per the market study, the Indian
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gourmet popcorn market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 36 per cent during the forecasted period of 2016-2022. However, this segment is still niche due to less geographical penetration, hence offers an immense opportunity especially for startup entrepreneurs to tap the potential in this growing market. In fact, the big companies are also gearing up, they are experimenting with new flavors and looking for lucrative partnerships to increase the penetration, for example, two years ago,
P opcornking Trend
PVR Ltd, the country’s largest cinema exhibition operator had acquired 70 per cent stake in Zea Maize Pvt Ltd, which runs the Delhi-based popcorn chain 4700BC Popcorn. Along with 4700BC Crunch Box from Delhi and Wow Popcorn from Mumbai are ruling this segment. The History of Popcorn Believe it or not, but popcorn has been around for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest specimen of popcorn dates back
more than 5,000 years and was found in what is now New Mexico. However, it wasn’t until the 1800’s that popcorn’s popularity really took off in the United States. There were several reasons why popcorn became so popular at this time. First of all, popcorn was (and remains) cheap to produce and easy to prepare. It’s made by simply heating up the popcorn kernels to a point where they rupture, causing an airy foam to develop. Secondly, popcorn was one of the most afford-
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able and tasty snacks available, making it a favorite amongst both rich and poor. Popcorn vendors would sell popcorn at sporting events, carnivals, circuses and even in parks. Once movie theaters emerged in the 1900’s, popcorn’s popularity shot through the roof. In fact, by 1945, half of the popcorn in the country was consumed in movie theaters! One of the reasons that popcorn has remained so popular is that it can be a healthy snack (if
Global Market Growth The global gourmet popcorn market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 7 per cent between 2016-20 and may reach sales exceeding $7 billion by 2020, according to a new report. you don’t slather butter and salt on your popcorn) and it’s extremely inexpensive. The first step towards the gourmet popcorn popularity of today actually occurred in the mid 1800’s, when a patent was issued to a method of coating popcorn with caramel. Caramel popcorn became a popular and sweeter alternative to regular popcorn, which saw thousands of caramel corn shops and vendors pop up through the early to mid-1900’s. Gourmet Popcorn With the popularity of gourmet food in general exploding in the 2000’s, in part due to the many chef-centric reality TV shows that became popular at this time, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that culinary artists soon turned their attention to popcorn. Gourmet popcorn consists of two things - a flavor that differs from regular, plain popcorn and ingredients that are natural and that were obtained from locally grown crops. As far as flavors go, they are practically endless. Both savory and sweet gourmet popcorn options are available; for example, chocolate popcorn, cheese popcorn, barbecue popcorn, dill popcorn and more. If you are looking to enjoy a healthy and tasty snack that was produced from natural, locally grown ingredients, then try out some of the many different types of gourmet popcorn that are available.
With a revenue share of more than 61per cent, North America is the largest gourmet popcorn market, according to Technavio. The region has recorded sharp growth in recent years as snacks companies such as Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Great American Popcorn and Diamond Foods have given the category more attention. Growth is expected to continue in North America through 2020, with a forecast CAGR of more than 6 per cent during 2016-20.
are boosting the popularity of popcorn in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. The popcorn market is still relatively small in Europe, but it expects the segment to grow more than 7 per cent during the 2016-20. Popcorn varieties such as posh popcorn, gourmet and unpopped popcorn are gaining attraction in the European countries. “Rising interest in ethnic and exotic flavors has also compelled the vendors to experiment with interesting and innovative flavors such as TNT fruit chutney flavored popcorn in Nigeria and barbecue popcorn by Top of the Pop in South Africa,” Sarathi said. Perhaps the sharpest growth is expected for the APAC region, or Asia-Pacific region. Technavio has projected a CAGR of more than 11 per cent in the region by 2020, propelled forward by rising disposable income and increasing purchasing of snacks.
“Many new launches between 2010 and 2014, including flavors such as maple, green apple caramel, and sour cream and onion, have helped to drive the sales of popcorn,” said G. Vijay Sarathi, lead food research expert at Technavio. “For instance, 479 Degrees launched coconut caramel artisan popcorn, and Gary Poppins rolled out cheddar and caramel popcorn.”
“A fast-growing trend in APAC is gourmet popcorn, which can be shown by the initiation of a retail chain of gourmet popcorn known as Cornery,” Sarathi said. “These chains started in the markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand due to less availability of such snack providers. It aims to take the first mover advantage and offer a new high quality of popcorn rather than conventional popcorn.”
In Latin America, the gourmet popcorn market is expected to reach nearly $0.5 billion in sales by 2020, growing at a CAGR of about 8 per cent. The research firm said Mexico and Argentina are the largest importers of popcorn in this region, while the per capita consumption in Brazil of microwave popcorn is about 80 grams per year, which exhibits considerable room for growth and is attracting vendors. A strategic partnership between ConAgra Foods and Cargill in October 2014 is an example of vendors tapping the growth po- t e n t i a l . I n n o v a - tive flavors
Indian prospect The Indian gourmet popcorn market is witnessing an astonishing growth, as there has been a shift towards munching healthier snack. The concept of having healthy gourmet popcorn that is served fresh over the counter is gaining momentum among the popcorn consumers, thus driving the gourmet popcorn market to grow at a CAGR of 36 per cent during the forecasted period of 20162 0 2 2 . Since
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Growth Potential: Started by Rahul Pandey and Sonal Bhotika, batcavespopcorn.com is the newest entrant in this segment. Sharing the journey Rahul said,” Me & my Co-founder (Sonal Bhotika) came up with the idea few years back.
this segment is niche and has low geographical penetration, there lies a great opportunity for industry participants to tap the fast-growing market which would garner huge revenue. The Indian gourmet popcorn market is rapidly growing owing to factors like, companies expanding their geographical reach, experimenting with new flavours, partnering with multiplexes, among others.
We wanted to create & start something of our own, a product a brand, which would be created by us out of our creativity, being interested in the food industry, we were on constant research to develop a newer product concept for the region.” Currently, the company is operating via kiosk model where the product is being manufactured at the company owned central factory and supplied to the kiosk. However, some varieties are also prepared at the Kiosk also. The company also retails ready- to- eat Nitrogen flushed
47 starters of gourmet popcorn business. Before 4700 BC, Gupta was consultant with Deloitte Consulting Services in the US. After completing about five years with the company there, Chirag Gupta in 2012, he decided to leave the US and come back to India to start something on his own. He launched his first outlet in 2013. However, he later collaborated with PVR cinemas to scale up the distribution. Speaking of his journey Chirag said,” Since we have started the demand for gourmet popcorn is kept on increasing. However, the right product positioning is very important, if you wish to make money in this business. I have seen many people starting this business in a very subtle way and not able to justify the positioning of the brand.” “Since, the beginning I knew that our product has some premium-ness attached to it; hence, our posi-
Hot and fresh popcorns from hawkers have been a simple joy that people of all demographics have enjoyed for years altogether. In cinema halls, the butter-salt variety became a staple. But gourmet popcorns have their own market, says Diksha M Rai, Co-founder, The Crunch Box touted as India biggest gourmet popcorn brand. “Popcorn is very close to everybody — nobody hates popcorn. While butter popcorn is much-loved as a snack which can be munched for three hours in a movie hall, gourmet ones are more a delicacy. It’s also heavy. People can have gourmet popcorn to complement some other thing as it’s too much to be continuously munched and is better consumed in lesser quantity,” Diksha told. Since India is going through a shift where munching on healthier snack has become the hottest trend, gourmet popcorn as the category has a lot of potential to grow. Besides, key player such as 4700 BC Popcorn, The Crunch box, Wow Food Brands etc there are many new emerging players.
packs with higher shelf life for distribution in the modern trade segment via local distributors. The company supplies to the many prominent cinema houses based in Eastern market along with Intuitional Sales in Bhubaneshwar. The company is looking to add more stores on franchise as well as company owned model. The company has already achieved the break-even, “Yes we have achieved it. The concept is really good and long sustainable as popcorn is something which is always been loved so it’s always going to sustain.” Chirag Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, 4700 BC Popcorn is one of the early
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tioning has to be right. Also we keen on changing the flavors to keep the freshness intact and offer the ultimate gourmet experience to our patron. We have evolved the product is such manner that it can be accepted as gifting item as well,” Gupta added further. The company will soon start its distribution in tier II markets as well with a slightly tweaked pricing strategy. As of now, the company has 23 offline stores along with online presence. The company is looking to add another 10-12 stores by FY19. The company would be targeting premium locations such as high end shopping malls for upcoming stores.
48 Also, the company also serves it range via all leading domestics’ airlines, cafes and hotel chains. Challenges Distribution Challenges: India has a rich practice of selling popcorn on push carts in small towns and metro cities alike, so having developing organize retail distribution is really challenging. Sharing the entrepreneurial journey Neha Goyal from Wow Popcorn said, “When we started, people had never seen a popcorn store before and were not yet receptive to the idea of healthy popcorn served fresh as an over the-counter snack. However, the things have evolved since then.” As of now, the company has three outlets in Mumbai. Highlighting the similar views, Diksha M Rai, Co-founder, The Crunch Box said, “It is very challenging to create a market for gourmet popcorn especially when people are used to freshly prepared popcorn straight from kettle. Just like in the cinemas. Gourmet popcorn is a new concept. Gourmet popcorn promises unique flavours and a never before experience with munchies. Remember popcorn is all healthy as compared to chips and fries. The Crunch Box was launched in December 2014 at the Select Citywalk mall in Delhi. And since then the brand has been associated with the leading brands in the hospitality and catering industry. Indigo Airlines, Barista , Fortis, British School, Cinepolis, Lalit Hotel, Taj hotel , Cideda Goa just to name a few from the list. Presently, the brand is available in all leading malls of Delhi.
concept of gourmet popcorns should do equally well in tier II cities if the product is genuine and competitively priced. There is always an audience for quality product. The company is shortly going to open its first outlet outside Delhi at The Elante mall, Chandigarh. Clearly, the concept of gourmet popcorn can be a lucrative venture if positioned and promoted rightly. Less availability in Tier 2 Cities Though gourmet popcorn is gaining growth in tier 1 cities but still this segment is out of reach from tier 2 cities. The people of these cities are still unaware about these tasty snacks. However, companies like Crunch Box are now ready to expand it in these cities. Crunch Box founder Diksha said that that company is planning to expand its business in North India as well as major 2 tier cities of South. “We are planning for expansion and soon India will snacks with Crunch Box”, said she. Less Shelf Life We all love popcorn and we know that it is fast becoming a snack for anytime of the day, and its growing popularity is evident by the different types of flavors available
As per Diksha, t h e
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worldwide but still popcorn is facing a difficulty of less shelf life. Both Chirag and Diksha believe that gourmet popcorn industry is facing a problem of less shelf life. “Though we are in this phase of problem but still we are adding any preservatives to our product to extend its shelf life which also sets us apart”, said Diksha. Conclusion The Indian gourmet popcorn market is witnessing an astonishing growth, as there has been a shift towards munching healthier snack. The concept of having healthy gourmet popcorn that is served fresh over the counter is gaining momentum among the popcorn consumers, thus driving the gourmet popcorn market to grow at a CAGR of 36 per cent during the forecasted period of 2016-2022. Since this segment is niche and has low geographical penetration, there lies a great opportunity for industry participants to tap the fast growing market which would garner huge revenue. However, when we go through this growth we find that this segment is still waiting to come outside cine and shopping malls. Companies are claiming to extend their footprints in tier 2 and tier 3 cities but pricing will be a big challenge for this segment as in India people want munchy food on a nominal price.
Timely procurement of wheat from mandis er Affairs department at Anaaj Bhawan in Sector 39, here on Tuesday after officially taking up the charge of his office.
ood, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister Punjab Bharat Bhushan Ashu said the department would ensure timely procurement of wheat from all mandis of the state. He assured that no farmer would suffer due to late procurement and lifting of the wheat crop. Ludhiana MLA Ashu said this while holding a review meeting with the officers of Food, Civil Supplies and Consum-
Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and other dignitaries including Ashu’s close associates MLA Sanjay Talwar, councillor Sunny Bhalla and prominent businessman Harish Dua too were present at the taking over ceremony. While addressing the officers, Ashu said, “It is chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s commitment with the farmers to ensure timely procurement and lifting of
wheat crop. Officers should ensure that no farmer suffers due to any delay in procurement and lifting. Officers should perform their duty with utmost devotion and honesty so that smooth procurement and lifting of wheat crop can take place in Punjab.” Ashu also said that with Punjab being an agrarian state, the farmers are the backbone of our economy and the department should ensure that they should not suffer in the mandis. Earlier, the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister was welcomed at Anaaj Bhawan by principal secretary KAP Sinha and director Anandita Mitra. He also interacted and addressed all the staff of the department at Anaaj Bhawan and urged them to perform their duties with honesty. Ashu said he believes in transparent governance and hopes that the officials would not let him down.
India pitches for soybean exports to China amid US trade spat
harply criticising protectionist policies of western countries, India today offered to export soybean and sugar to China amid the tariff spat between Beijing and Washington and sought major Chinese investments specially in India’s housing-for-all project. “You import a lot of agricultural products, up to USD 20 billion or more,” NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar said in his address to the fifth India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED). “I was noticing that there are some tariffs you imposed on farmers’ from Iowa and Ohio. Maybe India can substitute for soybean and sugar, if we could access those exports with all the due quality considerations to our farmers.
expected to hit American farmers. Soybean is regarded as most important for US farmers as China is the largest importer.
prochement between the two countries after the standoff. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval held wide ranging talks with top official of the ruling Communist Party Yang Jiechi to step up engagement between the two countries.
That is very useful,” he told the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) He Lifeng.
Kumar’s pitch for soybean and sugar exports to China came amid the ongoing trade spat between US and China following which Beijing has slapped 25 per cent tariffs on American soybean imports in a tit-for-tat retaliation to President Donald Trump camping tariffs on range of Chinese products.
Both, Kumar and He led the India-China SED here which broadly covers various aspects of economic and trade relations between the two countries.It was not held last year amid the Dokalam standoff. The meeting took place amid growing rap-
Trump is pressuring China to reduce the USD 375 billion trade deficit with America to USD 100 billion. China had hit back with tariffs on a wide variety of agricultural products such as soybean, corn, beef, orange juice and tobacco which are
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Making a case for China to look at Indian agricultural exports in view of the trade spat, Kumar, in his opening address, made a thinly veiled attack on US and Western countries’ protectionist policies. He said a synchronised recovery was taking place in the world economy after a long time. “But this is marred and disrupted by unseemingly protectionist noises that are coming out from the Atlantic basin from North America and Europe,” he said. The emerging economies of Asia continue to grow at very good rates with China growing at 6.8 per cent and India at 7 or 7.2 per cent,” he said. “Our rate average growth for the next five years until 2022 should be between 8.5 to 9 per cent,” he said. “This will imply that India will join China, and work with China as an important anchor and driver of the global growth in the future,” he said.
Punjab promotes PAU rice variety to cut water usage and stubble burning leave heavier stubble,” BS Bains, director, Punjab Agriculture Department, told ET.
On PUSA-44 variety, he said, “It increases menace of air pollution as the stubble is heavier than the short-duration varieties.” The state agriculture department is promoting PR 126, a short-duration variety developed by Punjab Agriculture Department. The PR 126 attains height of 102 cm and matures in 123-125 days.
We are promoting short-duration paddy varieties developed by Punjab Agriculture University over late-maturing PUSA varieties that require more water and
The variety is resistant to seven different bacterial blight pathogens and yields 30 quintals of paddy per acre. Earlier, the Punjab Pollution Control Board had issued a notification to delay by five days
unjab farmers are being urged to switch to the early-maturing varieties of paddy which need less water and leave lighter stubble in the fields after harvest.
sowing of paddy, under the Punjab Preservation of Sub-Soil Water Act, 2009. This year the board has said sowing of nursery should not be before May 20 and transplantation of the crop should be done after June 20. Groundwater depletion in Punjab is alarmingly high due to widespread exploitation of groundwater for growing paddy. Usually, paddy, a key kharif crop, is sown over 29-30 lakh hectares in the state. This year the area under paddy is sown over 29-30 lakh hectares in the state. This year the area under paddy is likely to witness an increase as farmers had earned higher remuneration in the last paddy season. To promote diversification, the state government is encouraging farmers to shift to other crops including cotton, maize and pulses.
Mizoram: State stocks up on rice before the monsoon
quality of rice in FCI godowns is up to the mark. He added that foodgrain is mainly imported from Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh by train and efforts are on to hire trucks from outside Mizoram as the number of domestic trucks is not sufficient to transport rice from godowns.
izoram is hopeful that it will have enough rice stock during the monsoon, officials of state food, civil supply and consumer affairs department said. Food, civil supply and consumer affairs director Abhijit Vijayu Choudhury said the government has ensured adequate stock of rice with only two godowns left to fill up. Officials of Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state food, civil supply and consumer affairs department on Monday convened a meeting to discuss the stock position and issues pertaining to civil supplies in the state. Speaking to reporters at a news conference after the meeting, the lone MP from Mizoram and chairman of the state consultative committee of FCI, Mizoram, Ronald Sapa Tlau, said the current stock in all respective depots is 12,045 metric
tonnes with Bairabi having the highest stock at 4,189MT. He said the current stock position in Aizawl is 3,512MT, 1,384MT in Lunglei, 1,052MT in Lawngtlai, 1,001MT in Bualpui and Kolasib has the least stock position at 907MT. He said efforts are on to have adequate rice stock during rainy season so that the people do not face inconvenience because of shortage of foodgrain. Tlau said the
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According to Tlau, the FCI will soon shift its main godown at Ramrikawn on the outskirts of Aizawl to a land donated by the food, civil supply and consumer affairs department in Sairang, about 21km from Aizawl. He said an agreement has already been signed with the state government over a plot of land in Sairang, which would be handed over to the FCI soon. “We will commence the construction of godown in Sairang after the state government officially hands it over to the FCI,” he said.
Food Safety Month Is Back- All You Need to Know About The Campaign different levels. themes were:
1. Frame for Five Food Fields 2. Tallying Company Finances with Food Safety 3. The Story So Far FSSAI 4. Food Safety Awards 2018
n order to stay fit, people make many healthy choices. Increasing the intake of healthy proteins, good fats and carbs are sure a great way forward, but we all know that even the grilled chicken on your plate is no good, if it is not of good quality or adulterated. Food safety is often not given the due it deserves. Food adulteration has become one of the biggest challenges of the modern world. Our fruits, poultry, dairy, vegetables, even the water that we consume are often laden with disease causing adulterants. In such a scenario, it is essential to spread maximum awareness about food safety. Consuming food that is not certified safe, may result in food poisoning and some life-threatening disorders. To raise awareness around the pressing concern, Equinox Labs conducted -Food Safety Month, which was aimed towards making food safety a crucial aspect in manufacturing units, hotels, schools and hospitals.
the Food Safety Awards 2018 to those who register with the initiative. Food Safety Month 2017 has set forth a series of activities like quizzes, consultations on food safety, knowledge sessions, and courses, along with exciting hampers, signages and posters. For all the four weeks of the Food Safety Month, there were four separate themes exploring the idea of food safety on
The companies, food businesses and individuals registering with the initiative were automatically nominated to the Food Safety Award 2018. Another highlight of the event was the #DonateAMeal drive, wherein you could donate at least one safe and healthy meal of the day to the needy, keeping in line with the ethos of the campaign - safe and nutritious food for all. Food safety is not a privilege it is every citizenâ€™s right.
Anniversary Issue (June 2018)
(25th-28th July 2018) New Delhi
(31st-2nd August-September 2018) Bangalore FI India (11thSeptember2018) New Delhi
Internaďż˝onal Foodtech (27th-29th September 2018) Mumbai
After the phenomenal success of Food Safety Month - season one, two and three, the campaign was back with season four. And, it was bigger and better in every way. The fourth edition of Food Safety Month that kickstarted on 7th April concluded on 6th May 2018. With numerous exciting contests, activities and more, this edition of the Food Safety Month had just one goal in mind - safe and nutritious food for all. This year Equinox Labs will decode Food Safety Mysteries for 5 Food Segments, unveil the FSSAI highlights, as well as present
AnnaPoorna (27th-29th September 2018) Mumbai
Agritex India (4th-6th Ocrober 2018) Hydrabad,India
Indian Ice Cream Expo (8th-9th October 2018) Chennai
Drink Technology (24th-26th October 2018) Mumbai
Agro & Food Processing May 2018
Gulfood Manufacturing (8th-November 2018) Dubai
Indian Cold Chain December 2018 Mumbai
Microwaving Food In Plastic ContainersNot Good for Health
rrespective of the vast technological advancements that India has seen, a majority of Indian homes are still not the ‘microwave it and eat it’ kind. The reason is that people still fear the repercussions of using the microwave on a continuous basis, and it had been found that it might be with good reason. Scientists have now found that heating food in a microwave, those that are heated in plastic containers, in particular, are extremely hazardous to health and can cause diseases like infertility, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer and damages to normal brain functioning. This is
attributed to the fact that heating plastic containers in a microwave result in the release of 95 per cent of the chemicals in it. “The most hazardous chemicals in plastic containers are bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and phthalate. The BPA we ingest gets into our bloodstream and may lead to a series of problems like infertility, hormonal changes, changes in gender traits and even different types of cancers. They also have side effects on animals causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts, and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales, and others,” explains Dr. Nitasha Gupta, IVF expert, Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found, after continuous observations, that more than 90 per cent of the population has measurable levels of bisphenol A in their bodies. It is important to note that plastic contains various other carcinogens including PVC,
styrene, and dioxin. “The disturbing truth is that heat transfers the chemicals in plastic very effectively into your food. When the food is heated, the food touching the plastic receives the chemicals leaching out. Eating those chemicals can increase risks of cancer, infertility, and havoc on the normal functioning of reproductive systems and your brain,” Dr. Nitasha Gupta added. “Glass never transfer chemicals the same way as plastic, and is much safer for heating your meals in,” suggests Dr. Swati, a Hyderabad based gynecologist. “An increase in plastic use in everyday lifestyles could be a contributing factor, causing an increase of infertility worldwide. A report from FDA states that chemicals, mostly BPA, adversely affect both male and female fertility,” she explains. Another study done by the American society of reproductive health has stated that BPA also inhibits embryo implantation due to which it is linked to higher levels of in-vitro fertilization and might also lead to miscarriages.
Edible oil import duty hike: Planting area for soybean could jump 15 per cent
ndian farmers are likely to expand soybean planting areas by nearly 15 per cent after the government raised edible oil import tax to the highest level in more than a decade, lifting domestic oilseed prices to nearly two-year highs, a trade body said. Higher production of the main summer-sown oilseed could help India, the world’s biggest vegetable oil importer, trim costly imports from Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia and Malaysia. It could also mean a boost in exports of soymeal, a key animal feed, to Asian buyers such as Japan, Vietnam and Bangladesh. “Soybean has been giving farmers good returns,” Atul Chaturvedi, president of industry body Solvent Extractors Association of India, said in an interview. “Due to the duty hike, soybean prices are significantly above the (government-fixed) minimum support price,” Chaturvedi said, adding, “The planting area could
rise by 15 per cent this year.” Indian soymeal once accounted for nearly a quarter of all Southeast Asian imports, but the country’s share has been falling due to rising domestic soybean consumption amid stagnant production.
to soybean,” said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of the Sunvin Group, a Mumbai-based vegetable oil importer. Prices of summer-sown pulses like red gram have been trading below the government set price due to higher supplies, he said.
Increasing prices To support local oilseed farmers and curb rising imports of edible oils, India has raised import duty on palm oil, soyoil and other cooking oils to the highest level in over a decade. After the hike, local soybean prices jumped to Rs. 3,895 per 100 kg earlier this month, the highest level in nearly two years. The government-fixed support price for soybean was Rs. 3,050.
Most Indian farmers begin cultivating soybean, cotton and pulses, which are rain-fed crops, in June after the arrival of the monsoon rains. Western state of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh in central India account for more than 80 per cent of the country’s total soybean output.
Soybeans were cultivated on 10.6 million hectares in 2017, down 8 per cent from a year ago, data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare showed. “Farmers in central India have been getting poor returns from pulses and this will prompt some of them to switch
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In 2017 a severe outbreak of pink bollworms trimmed returns of farmers like Sudhakar Mondhe from cotton due to higher spending on pesticides. “Last year I incurred losses in cotton planting. This year I am planning to reduce cotton area and increase soybean sowing,” said Mondhe, a farmer from Yavatmal in Maharashtra.
Making Indiaâ€™s fruit processing industry globally competitive have model food processing units, provide logistics support and market linkages for backward and forward integration.
ndia ranks second in production of fruits and vegetables. It has 15 agro-climatic zones, which can support most of the fruits. Despite that, the level of fruit processing in India is very low (around 2.2 per cent) as compared to countries like the US (65 per cent), China (23 per cent) & Philippines (78 per cent).
However, there is a significant opportunity for us. Globally, the three big crops that are processed are tomato, orange and apple. India is among the top 5 producers of all these commodities but have a negligible presence in their processing. A meagre target of 5 per cent would lead to processing of 4 million tons of fruits.
The biggest challenge faced by the fruit processing industry is perhaps, limited and inconsistent availability of fruits. Due to low per capita availability of fruits in India, most fruits find their way to retail markets, and almost nothing is left for processing. In the absence of consistent fruit supply, the industry cannot assure supply to its customers.
We need to work towards significantly improving, both overall fruit availability and farm productivity.
They are reduced to marginal players processing table varieties and filling the gap left by crop failures in other parts of the world. This leads to uncertainty and low capacity utilization of processing units. This, coupled with low farm productivity, makes fruit processing a non-starter or a high-cost producer at best. Presently, both fruit and fruit juice concentrate prices in India are way higher than the global prices. For example, the average ex-factory gate prices for oranges for the last three years have been 60 per cent higher than Brazil. Brazilians segregate their fruit at source, have better irrigation, and big financial houses in fruit processing. Furthermore, Brazilian oranges are juicier and sweeter than Indian oranges. Therefore, they use 40 per cent less oranges to make 1kg of juice concentrate. The case is no different for lemons or apples.
Farm Intervention Varietal improvement: Facilitating cultivation of multiple superior varieties with higher juice and brix content and distributed production will be crucial. A distributed production of early, medium and late yielding varieties prevents glut and stabilizes prices, hence decreasing market risk for farmers. Productivity enhancement: Today, we can achieve better land utilization through Ultra High Density Plantation (UHDP). In this, fruit trees are planted much closer as compared to traditional farming. In mango UHDP, 600 trees are planted as compared to 40 trees in traditional farming. Cluster development: Globally, every country focuses on one or two fruits. For example, Brazil on orange juice, Europe/China on apple juice, Argentina leads in lemon juice, and India in mango. We need to select fruit to scale, and then make small clusters of excellence to pool in all resources in these clusters (Eg: mosambi in Ananthpur, orange in Nagpur/Punjab and mango in Chittoor). Within these clusters, we need to promote Farmer Producer Organizations,
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Farm extension and sustainability: Advancements in agricultural research must reach farmers fast. From a sustainability perspective, farmers need to be appraised on good practices in terms of water, nutrition, and climate to grow new varieties. They should be warned against adverse effects of using pesticides beyond the prescribed dosage. This not only affects yield and quality but also makes it hard for the industry to export pulp/concentrate amid growing health and environmental concerns. Procurement efficiency: The ability to segregate raw material at source and create separate distribution systems ensures the processing variety goes to the processors, while the table variety goes to the fresh distributors. This maximizes the price realization as per fruit grades for the farmer. Industry-Level Intervention Processor level interventions in apple and citrus may include tax incentives and financial subsidies for capacity expansion and improving the financial viability of existing units. The government may look at subsidizing the setting up of integrated units for by-product processing. Corporate interventions Small land holdings are often considered the biggest challenge for Indian agriculture; however, India has seen the success of a cooperative system in the fragmented dairy sector. There could be projects to address all aspects of competitive deficiencies of Indiaâ€™s fruit juice concentrate processing, leading to a Fruit Circular Economy. These projects should aim to fill in the existing gaps in terms of developing new varieties, improving productivity, farm extension services and providing efficient market linkage for farmers. Creating a circular economy for fruits will significantly increase processing in India which could be used not just in beverages but other food items as well. After all, every small initiative adds up to make a difference to Indiaâ€™s farmers.
Over Production- A Pure Wastage
bumper harvest in Haryana and other states have led to a crash in tomato prices, fuelling farm distress The Charkhi Dadri mandi in Haryana, about three hours from Delhi, wore a forlorn look on 30 April: quiet and clean except for some tomatoes littering the ground, an old woman scavenging the good ones, and some crates of tomatoes left behind by farmers. It is here that hundreds of farmers staged a protest a few days ago as wholesale tomato prices crashed to as low as less than a rupee a kg. Later during an auction at the mandi (wholesale market) on 30 April evening , a small truck of tomatoes sold for Rs. 6 per crate of 25 kg—or about 24 paisa per kg. The same evening, tomatoes sold in Delhi’s retail markets between Rs.15-20 per kg. It takes at least Rs. 4 to grow a kilo of tomato, and between Rs. 5-7 when grown on leased land using hired labour. “Due to a bumper harvest in Haryana and other states prices have crashed... we are getting fewer calls from buyers from outside the state,” said Ajay Punya, a trader at the mandi. The glut has reached a point where goshalas—shelters for abandoned cows —are flush with so much free tomatoes that they are refusing to take anymore. “The cows are suffering from loose motions after eating too many tomatoes,” quipped another trader. Rakesh Sangwan’s farm is half-an-hour’s ride from the mandi. A week back Sangwan, 27, took a tough decision: he stopped irrigating his seven-acre tomato field. “Current prices will not pay for plucking and transport costs so no point in wasting water, I am letting the crop wither on the field,” said Sangwan, who increased the area under the vegetable, partly because he had earned a handsome profit last year. Sangwan is not the only farmer reeling under a price crash. Consecutive years of record harvests of foodgrain, oilseeds and perishable horticulture crops have led to a crash in prices, fuelling distress in India’s farms in a year when several agriculturally important states such as Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan go to polls.
ket intelligence which can provide a clue to future prices and demand. For instance, in Charkhi Dadri district of Haryana, a hub of tomato production in the state, the area under the crop doubled last winter as the government provided financial incentives to farmers.
Data on the wholesale price inflation in tomatoes shows wild fluctuations with prices crashing during harvest season and peaking during lean months. In March this year, wholesale food price inflation turned negative: a 0.3 per cent decline year on year. “We haven’t seen this kind of food price deflation in over a decade.For the third time in the last four years, wholesale food inflation went into negative territory. While record harvests (driven by normal rains) is a reason, food prices are also low due to poor demand as rural incomes are hit,” said Himanshu, associate professor of economics, at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Further, prices have seen recurrent fluctuations for major crops like potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. The past months were replete with images of onion farmers in Madhya Pradesh and potato growers in Uttar Pradesh dumping their produce for want of better prices. The crisis could be resolved in part by smoothening supplies through processing, say making puree out of fresh produce and supplying these during lean months when retail prices are high. “It is possible to repeat the success of frozen peas which are now available through the year at reasonable prices for other vegetables, if the government promotes marketing of new products like pureed tomatoes and processed onions,” said Siraj Hussain, former agriculture secretary and currently a fellow at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Delhi. There’s more. Farmers usually make crop choices based on previous year’s prices as there is almost no crop specific mar-
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“May be we should have promoted musk melons (selling at Rs. 30 per kg in wholesale markets now) instead of tomatoes... but we had no idea how much tomatoes were planted in other states,” said Surender Sihag, district horticulture officer. To stem the fall in the prices of perishables, Haryana announced a price support scheme called Bhavantar Yojana for vegetables in December, the first for perishables by any state government. For tomatoes, support prices were fixed at Rs. 4 per kg. Farmers who have registered for the scheme are promised a cash transfer when they sell at prices below Rs. 4. While the scheme provided a sense of relief to those who registered under the scheme, it also depressed wholesale prices for the likes of Sangwan who missed out on the deadline to register. Wholesale tomato prices were at Rs. 4 per kg in Karnataka’s Kolar and at Delhi’s Azadpur mandi, substantially higher than the pitiful 50 paisa per kg rates at the Dadri mandi. This indicates a possible collusion by traders to purchase cheap from farmers who are registered under the scheme, pulling down average wholesale prices locally. “A price deficiency scheme (as introduced by Haryana for vegetables, and pulses and oilseeds in Madhya Pradesh) can function only if spot markets are not rigged,” said Pravesh Sharma, former head of Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium, and currently CEO of Kamatan, an agriculture supply chain startup. “Government’s should instead advise farmers on crop choice and timing in sync with market conditions,” Sharma said. “In about a month from now tomato prices will soar as harvest from the (warmer) plains are exhausted and we depend on meagre supplies from the hills.”
New developments expected in the food industry in 2018 green policies, water consumption, use of alternative energy sources and commitment to waste reduction – and for these customers to turn away from them if they fail to meet a certain standard.
etting ahead in the food industry means staying aware of the latest developments in the sector and making efforts to get a step ahead of them. The most successful businesses are proactive, rather than reactive, and that’s particularly true in trend-driven sectors such as food and drink. In 2018, food service providers will naturally need to learn about the latest consumption patterns and recipe trends, but it’s also vital that they pay attention to the more fundamental shifts in the way companies are expected to operate, with new technologies emerging and legislative responsibilities changing. Businesses that invest in the right learning and development will be able to anticipate these changes and differentiate themselves from their competitors; those that don’t, run the risk of getting left behind. E-commerce into the mainstream Direct-to-consumer sites and third-party e-commerce platforms are starting to account for a growing proportion of food and drink sales, with consumers showing a strong interest in the tailored service and convenient home delivery options that such channels can offer. Whereas these services were previously only provided by the largest companies, the technology is now within the reach of smaller local businesses, meaning this represents an industry-wide shift. For companies that have not yet made this transition, 2018 could be the year in which they embrace the potentially transformative impact that e-commerce can deliver.
Food safety comes to the fore In the last few years, customers have become a lot savvier about food safety issues and there’s no reason to think this trend won’t continue to grow in importance in 2018. Recent surveys have indicated that consumers now take the cleanliness and Food Standards Agency hygiene rating of a given establishment into consideration when looking for a place to eat – something that has never been easier to do, thanks to the proliferation of smart devices offering instant access to social media or rating and review websites. In other words, an organization’s reputation can live or die based on its safety performance, meaning it’s absolutely vital for businesses to invest significantly in food safety and prevention efforts. Training staff may require a commitment of time and resources, but the risks posed by failing to do so simply cannot be countenanced. Sustainability becomes a business-critical issue Safety isn’t the only aspect of food standards that customers are becoming more educated about. Increasingly, sustainability is being seen by modern consumers as an important issue – and one to which they expect the companies they patronize to be visibly committed. This is particularly true of the vital millennial demographic, many of whom have strong principles when it comes to ethical business practices and environmental protection. As such, businesses should expect to be held accountable for their
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For companies that have not yet overhauled their environmental and sustainability policies, it is essential to do so in 2018, and to provide the learning and development opportunities necessary to help staff get to grips with a better, more efficient way of working. Optimizing technology use in the era of GDPR Many of the changes the food industry is undergoing are happening as a direct consequence of consumers gaining easier access to new technologies, so it’s important for businesses to make sure they are also keeping their technical infrastructure up-to-date. This is particularly vital in light of the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will impose stringent new consent laws on any company that is processing personal data and harsh penalties for those that fail to comply. With more and more food service providers handling large quantities of digital data, there is a great deal of pressure to get this right ahead of the May 25th implementation date. However, businesses should also be thinking about the opportunities that new technology can provide, as well as the challenges it poses. As 2018 continues, companies in the food sector have an opportunity to enhance their efficiency, expand their customer base, revolutionize their service offering and deliver tailored, personalized training to staff.
Food industry moves to blockchain technology for food safety
id the chicken you bought at the supermarket had a nice life, roaming free, and eating healthy grains? If you’re the kind of person who cares, Carrefour, the big France-based grocery chain, has the bird for you. Every chicken it sells under its house brand comes complete with its very own life story, thanks to the wonders of blockchain software. All you need to do is scan the label with your smartphone to get all the details. This is the same technology that serves as the backbone of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. The grocery giant isn’t just trying to appeal to discriminating foodies. It wants to do whatever it can to ensure its products aren’t tainted; part of a broader industry trend that buys into the as-yet-unproven promise that blockchain can improve food safety. Nestlé, Dole Food, Unilever, and Tyson Foods are working with their biggest customer, Walmart. Kroger and JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce operator, have also joined the same blockchain
platform built by International Business Machines Corp. Carrefour developed its own system in-house. There’s no question about it, blockchain will do for food traceability what the Internet did for communication. And for every 1 per cent reduction in food-borne diseases globally, the economy would benefit by about $700mn from increased productivity, thanks to reduced illness and fewer days lost at work. By making suppliers more accountable, proponents say adoption of the technology would help reduce some of the headline-grabbing food tampering of recent years: wood pulp blended with Parmesan cheese; horse meat passed off as minced beef, and plastic mixed in frozen chicken nuggets. Such meddling, health dangers aside, costs the food industry as much as $49bn a year. So, let’s say there’s a norovirus or listeria outbreak associated with spinach at your local grocer. The current system may require recalling vast amounts of spinach from around the country, because it’s so difficult to identify the origin of contaminated food. With
blockchain, grocers can quickly pinpoint the source, narrowed to a single region or even a single farm. Once in stores, blockchain data — combined with sensors and computer models — could help grocers’ better gauge the shelf life of produce. Historical information, collected from temperature sensors on the shelf, could be run through predictive models to determine the optimal temperature for, say, strawberries. Blockchain is making its way to sea, as well. The World Wildlife Fund is testing a combination of radio-frequency identification sensors and blockchain software to track the transport of a tuna on its way from fishing boat to processing plant. The idea is to discourage the introduction of illegally caught fish to the food supply.It won’t be a foolproof system, but “blockchain offers a platform that makes illegal or unethical practices infinitely more discoverable than the currently diffuse and opaque supply chains.”
Dabbawalas to come up with food processing start-ups
fter 125-years of successfully delivering lunch tiffins across Mumbai and its suburbs, the Mumbai dabbawalas are setting up a start-up business, in the food processing sector, reports revealed. Ritesh Andre, president of the Mumbai dabbawalas, revealed the start-ups plans of Dabbawalas and said the startup will supply organic produce, possibly organic vegetables. “We are in the process of developing a business model for our start-ups. Most dabbawalas come from farming families that grow organic grain and vegetables. The idea of the business is to deliver organic produce through their Six Sigma-certified supply chain. We will use technology for the same purpose,” he said. In 1890 Bombay, Mahadeo Havaji Bachche started a lunch delivery service with about a hundred men called as ‘Dab-
bawala’, which became India’s first food delivery start up successfully running up till nowdays. Andre spoke about how dabbawalas are embracing technology. “Various IT companies approach us with a number of business models, but it is difficult to implement them with the same efficiency and we continued with our existing model. However, after the implementation of goods and services tax (GST), we are in the process of adopting financial technology,” he explained. Notably, Mumbai Dabbawalas too has a Fortune 500 clientele including Deliotte, KPMG, Philips, Siemens and Uber, Ola too, among plenty of others. “We are getting software made to manage funds from their inoperative income, which comes from advertising, training and lecture sessions and even charity. All
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this income is deposited in their trust,” said Andre. He also said that their team is expanding to cities like Chennai and Pune. Recently, Mumbai Dabbawalas partnered with PayTM Payments Bank, a digital bank from PayTM which provides zero balance accounts and zero charges on digital transactions. As part of this partnership, around 5000 dabbawalas is now able to collect instant payments for their Dabba service through PayTM QR.The Forbes magazine gave the dabbawalas a Six Sigma performance rating or a 99.99999 percent of precision, which means they make one error in 16 million deliveries! In the last 125 years, there has not been a single instance of a lunchbox that has not been delivered to its destination. The New York Times reported in 2007 that the 125-year-old dabbawala industry continues to grow at a rate of 5–10 per cent per year.
Invention of a patch to detect food threats
ccording to the World Health Organisation, foodborne pathogens result in approximately 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths per year. About 30 per cent of those cases E. coli involve children five years old and younger. But now a breakthrough has happened. A transparent patch has been developed by researchers from the McMaster University to bring certainty to the delicate but critical question of whether meat and other foods are safe to eat or need to be thrown out. Mechanical and chemical engineers at the university, working closely with biochemists from across campus, have collaborated to develop a transparent test patch, printed with harmless molecules that can signal contamination as it hap-
pens. The new patch has been developed to detect dangerous food threats. It can be incorporated directly into food packaging, where it can monitor the contents for harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. The new technology has the potential to replace the traditional ‘best before’ date on food and drinks alike with a definitive indication that it’s time to chuck that roast or pour out that milk. If a pathogen is present in the food or drink inside the package, it would trigger a signal in the packaging that could be read by a smartphone or other simple device. The test Salmonella itself does not affect the contents of the package. The researchers are naming the new material ‘Sentinel Wrap’ in tribute
to the McMaster-based Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network, an interdisciplinary research network that worked on paper-based detection systems. That network’s research ultimately gave rise to the new food-testing technology. Mass producing such a patch would be fairly cheap and simple, the researchers said, as the DNA molecules that detect food pathogens can be printed onto the test material. Getting the invention to market would need a commercial partner and regulatory approvals, the researchers say. They point out that the same technology could also be used in other applications, such as bandages to indicate if wounds are infected, or for wrapping surgical instruments to assure they are sterile.
Lack of food analyst for Chennai ‘Food safety on wheels’
ood safety on wheels’ the newly invented mobile food testing laboratory that not only educate consumers on various aspects of food safety and hygiene but also is capable to check the quality of food in the city. The mobile laboratory developed to spot testing of legal standards in common food items, including milk products, prepared food and non-permitted colours. In Chennai 2012, 992 food samples were carried out by food inspectors from which 343 were found to be poor quality and 132 unsafe with harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances. The department had tied up with residents’ associations to do hasty tests on food suspected to be adulterated in their neighborhoods, including checking for artificial ripening of fruits. After the launch of food safety on wheels by Chennai government that is fully equipped to check adulteration at people’s doorstep and to spread hygiene awareness has been carrying more pamphlets than
food samples, and the reason behind it is that there is lack of food analyst on board as there are very few applicants who have the required qualification. It has become difficult for the food safety department to find the appropriate applicant for the analyst post. Food safety official said, “Experienced analysts are difficult to carry among three districts. We can’t afford to let someone with no experience handle the expensive equipment. The mobile food testing lab cost around Rs. 40 lakh along with the equipments. The department is now examining over outsourcing the job and maintenance of the lab to a private player. The Centre will bear the maintenance cost for five years” said the official. The mobile food testing labs in Kancheepuram, Chennai and Tiruvallur are in a
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wait to still have a qualified food analyst and a technician. Though, regardless of being equipped to commence 24 tests on milk, nine on edible oils, 17 on spices and 11 on other food samples, the lab is yet to achieve its potential due to the absence of an experienced analyst. Officials in the food safety department said it had been difficult to fill the post. The mobile food testing lab has gone to three educational institutions and enlightened around 5,200 people on the dos and don’ts while handling food and how to check for adulteration at home.
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