Thursday, February 1, 2018

Food safety and its impact on Indian Economy (54th DP 16 to 31 Jan, 2018)

Dear Friends,

Last fortnight we have seen few news related to Food safety in India and its impact on Indian Economy. We also saw launch of Training of Trainers for dairy sector under FOSTAC program to train Food safety Supervisor in the country. It is mandated now to have a Food safety supervisor for every 25 food handler in a dairy/food factory. Soon Food safety supervisor training will begin in this sector through empaneled partners of FOSTAC across the country.

Such initiative would bring in a paradigm shift in the Safe Milk Mission of the country and its outcome would result in an early achievement for providing safe milk to every consumer in the country.

In this edition I thought of sharing some facts about the future threats of food safety in our country in dairy as well as food and its impact on Indian Economy.

a. The first threat to milk is because of upsurge in supply of silage in plastic bails to the farmers. This is an anaerobic environment , in which spore forming heat-stable bacterial could grow. If such bacteria enter milk , they will be transported to dairy factory and can gain entry, surviving most heat treatments.They may then be able to colonise within foulants films that can build up on milk -contact surfaces and ultimately contaminate products.This threat is over and above the threat of having aflatoxins being found in such silage due to unregulated and improper making of silage or poor knowledge on toxin binders.

b. The concept of using feeding pads in modern farming in housing systems may provide more opportunity than in the past for disease organisms to pass between animals in a herd.

c. Gone are the days when bacteria in milk were considered as free-floating and thus controllable through process parameters on heating. Now the bigger threat is of biofilms on inside surfaces of pipes and vessels. Though there are chances of the spore formers to get killed while heating milk (which are coming out of bio films) but unfortunately heating in dairy operations is only in early stages and practically after pasteurization there is no further area where milk is heated in a liquid milk plant while the surfaces remain under ambient conditions most of the time. 

d. With more and more of automation the dairy plant operators are interacting to the process through monitors and screens. If the system is well engineered and highly efficient then threats are low but what about the unaccountable or unrecorded details related to new strains of bacteria which are emerging .

Recent case of salmonella in Lactalis is one of the example wherein all processes and systems were not negotiated at all however the result is not in favour of processors as well as the consumers.

In 2011 Food Borne diseases in India were 100 million and are expected to rise to 150-177 million in 2030.

This means one out of 9 persons on average fall sick up from one in 12 in 2011. The Food borne diseases cost may rise to USD 7-8.4 Billion by 2030 as against USD 3 B in 2011. 

With increasing GDP and per capita income and changing lifestyle to adopt processed foods and particularly meat based products ( which are more more prone to create Food borne diseases) the likelihood of high burden on Indian Economy on healthcare is inevitable.

However it becomes duty of all the stakeholders to start focussing on their Quality assurance program towards Food safety more than just using it to meet compliance. Even the compliance need to be re-imagined in a dynamic environment with induction of more and more stringent norms from the regulator.

My purpose through this deliberation is just to sensitize all of you towards two important aspects related to future impact of food safety on economy; 

a. Modern farm practices need to be assessed well before adoption and must be viewed from its final outcome from food safety perspective.

b. Food safety is a mindset and it is always better to change it at the earliest. A rising economy with rising cases of food borne diseases and more expenses on healthcare will not do good for any one.

Just think over it and enjoy your weekend with this content as food for thought.

( Acknowledgements : Proceedings of the 2014 Newzealand Milk Quality Conference and Joseph James Whitworth from Food Quality

Happy e learning.

with best regards

Kuldeep Sharma
Chief Thinking Officer
Suruchi Consultants (ISO 9001:2008 Company)
C-49 Sector-65
Noida 201307

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