General Risks associated with Food Processing

 

  • Processing of food can decrease its nutritional density. The amount of nutrients lost depends on the food and processing method.
  • For example, heat destroys vitamin C. Therefore, canned fruits possess less vitamin C than their fresh alternatives
  • Using some food additives represents another safety concern.
    • For example using sugar as an additive endangers diabetics.
    • Increased consumption of Sodium results in increased risk for heart disease.
  • Food processing is typically a mechanical process that utilizes extrusion, large mixing, grinding, chopping and emulsifying equipment in the production process.
    • These processes introduce a number of contamination risks. Such contaminants are left over material from a previous operation, animal or human bodily fluids, and microorganisms, non-metallic and metallic fragments
    • Further processing of these contaminants will result in downstream equipment failure and the risk of ingestion by the consumer.
    • Example: A mixing bowl or grinder is used over time, metal parts in contact with food will tend to fail and fracture

 

Road Ahead

  • Considering the Policy shortcomings of the Government, The MoFPI should announce the National Food Processing Policy at the earliest to fill the policy vacuum
  • Given the economic potential of the sector and its capability to address food security, the following measures could be taken:
    • The government needs to regulate its trade liberalisation policy, so that it leaves enough space for its domestic food industry to grow
    • Efforts need to be made to ensure that the scheme benefits reach the intended beneficiaries – small & marginal farmers; and also to increase the collaboration of Industries with farmers
    • Also, the Government needs to ensure fairness by producers so that farmers get a better realization of the money earned across the value chain. A policy intervention or regulation in this regard is the need of the hour.
    • Going forward, the adoption of food safety and quality assurance mechanisms such as Total Quality Management (TQM) including ISO 9000, ISO 22000, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) by the food processing industry offers several benefits
  • This would enable adherence to stringent quality and hygiene norms and thereby protect consumer health, prepare the industry to face global competition, enhance product acceptance by overseas buyers and keep the industry technologically abreast of international best practices