In the past few years, FSSAI has taken various steps to create and invest in an effective food-testing ecosystem in the country. The National Food Laboratory at Ghaziabad has been recently installed with a wide range of equipment and hastechnological facilities to conduct all the tests in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The testing and analysis at NFL Ghaziabad will be carried out by Arbro Pharmaceuticals under the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) between FSSAI and Arbro.
Microbiological Testing Facilities
Microbiological testing is important as human health can be adversely affected by the presence of harmful pathogens, disease-causing bacteria, and other toxins. These pathogens can spoil food, introduce toxins, cause foodborne diseases. The microbiological testing facilities at NFL are undertaken to identify contaminants in food and water to ensure food safety. Microbiological food testing helps food manufacturers, restaurants, hotels, government run canteens and office & school cafeterias to avoid providing contaminated food or beverages to consumers. The various microbiological testing carried out at NFL are as follows
Food Hygiene indicators
Microbiological indicator organisms are generally used to monitor the hygienic conditions that exists during food production. If specific bacteria, yeasts or moulds are detected, it indicates poor hygiene and microbiological contamination.
Food borne pathogens
Food pathogens detection at NFL is carried out for parameters like detection of specific bacteria or low traces or a single live bacterial cell as well as shorter time waiting procedures are used. Various methods of detection of pathogens have been developed for rapid and cost-effective analysis.
Sampling and Analysis
In order to ensure the quality and safety of any food product, food sampling or food analysis can be ordered and carried out by an FSSAI Office. For a food analysis, a sample food product can be drawn, packed, sealed and sent to NFL for analysis.
At NFL most vitamins can be quantified in both fat soluble and water-soluble vitamins in specific foods.
Spore detection is important as formed pathogen spore can become resistant to heat, freezing, chemicals and other effects that food undergoes during processing and preparation. These are those pathogens that cause food spoilage or food-borne illnesses.
A systematic approach for the evaluation of probiotic foods is essential to substantiate health claims.
Microbiological testing at NFL is done with the help of sophisticated equipment for various procedures like observation, media preparation, inoculation and incubation, all of which are needed for accurate microbiological analysis.
Chemical Testing Facilities
Chemical stability testing is a most important requirement so that there are no changes in foods due to chemical or biochemical reactions like rancidity or non-enzymatic browning.
Quality parameters like moisture, pH, acidity, energy value, fat content etc. are also tested.
FSSAI is very strict on the issue of food adulteration and as per the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006, the word ‘adulterated food’ has been termed as; substandard food, unsafe food or food containing extraneous matter. During festival season or for economic gains some unscrupulous vendors can adulterate high value foods like milk, khoya and even oil. NFL has the required equipment and is also experienced in the analysis of food adulteration, using techniques like HPLC, HPTLC, GCMC, LCMSMS and chemical analysis.
NFL is well-equipped to undertake nutritional analysis of various packaged food products as well as dietary supplements, protein powders, health drinks, infant formula, etc. which are in keeping with the correct nutritional labelling for health claims.
The NFL has equipment for TGA Analysis, Spectroscopy, Proximate analysis and Additive analysis. Stakeholders will be able to take advantage of this advanced food-testing infrastructure and help combat instances of contamination and food adulteration.