A number of cereals are grown in different countries which include rye, oats, barley, maize, triticale, millet and sorghum. However, rice and wheat are the most important cereal crops and account for almost half of the cereal crop production worldwide. Soybeans are also considered a cereal product even though it is a pulse. Cereals are a staple food in most countries and are considered important sources of nutrients. They contain carbohydrate, protein, and fiber, as well as micronutrients such as vitamin E, some of the B vitamins, magnesium and zinc. Cereals are the raw materials that are used to make cereal products.
Most cereals are milled or similar processes to get cereal products. Milling generally is described as a process that involves grinding, sifting, separation and regrinding. The nutrient content in the cereal depends on how much of the outer layer of bran is removed during milling as bran is concentrated with fiber, vitamins, and minerals
Cereal products derived from the milling process include wheat, rye, and oat flours and semolina, cornmeal, corn grits. Flour from cereals is used for making bread. Other products are breakfast cereals, pasta, snack foods, dry mixes, cakes, pastries, and tortillas. In addition, cereal products are used as ingredients in numerous products, such as batters and coatings, thickeners and sweeteners, processed meats, infant foods, confectionary products, and beverages such as beer.
Contamination in cereals
Most contamination in cereals is environment based and microbiological in nature. Cereals can be contaminated from air, dust, soil, water, insects, rodents, birds, animals, humans, storage and shipping containers, and handling and processing equipment. Sometimes certain nutritional changes take place due to storage for long periods in which case these cereals are quite often fortified with nutrients. If the amount of moisture during storage is high then the cereals deteriorate. Moisture control is one of the most important factors in cereals and so after they are harvested they need to be stored appropriately so moisture does not lead to spoilage because of molds and grain germination. Cereals can also be contaminated because of rainfall, humidity, temperature, sunlight, frost, soil conditions, wind, insect, bird and rodent activity, harvesting equipment, use of pesticides and during storage and handling.
The standards for Cereal and Cereal products are prescribed in regulation 2.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. According to FSSAI cereals and cereal products mentioned in the standards include
- Atta, maida, semolina (suji or rawa) besan Pearl Barley (Jau)
- Food grains like wheat, maize, jawar and bajra and rice
- Pulses (dals) like masur whole, urad whole, moong whole, chana whole
- Split pulses (dals) like arhar, moong, urd, masur and Chana dal
- Products like cornflour, cornflakes, custard powder
- Macaroni products which include pasta products like macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli
- Malt and malt-based foods,
- Rolled oats
- Solvent extracted flours like soy flour, groundnut flour, sesame flour, coconut flour, cottonseed flour,
- Starchy foods like arrowroot and sago,
- Bakery products and bread
ATTA: this is a cereal product obtained by milling or grinding clean wheat which is free from rodent hair and excreta. Standards to pay attention to are Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl, Gluten, and Alcoholic acidity
Fortified atta means Calcium carbonate (prepared chalk, popularly known as Creta preparata); iron, thiamine riboflavin, and niacin are added to atta according to the standards given.
Protein-rich or paushtik atta means the product contains wheat atta mixed with groundnut flour “or soy flour”, or a combination of both to an extent mentioned in the standards. Besides standards for Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl, Gluten and Alcoholic acidity special attention has to be paid to Total Protein and Crude fiber in the contents.
MAIDA: means the fine product made by milling or grinding clean wheat which is free from rodent hair and excreta and bolting or dressing the resulting wheat meal. It needs to conform to standards for Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl Gluten and Alcoholic acidity.
Maida for bakery purpose: If maida is used for bakery purposes then the following flour treatment agents can be used in the quantities mentioned
Benzoyl peroxide (Max) 40 p.p.m.
Potassium bromate (Max) 20 p.p.m.
Ascorbic acid (Max) 200 p.p.m.
Fortified maida and Protein rich (paushtik) maida has the same definition and standards as fortified and protein-rich wheat.
SEMOLINA (Suji or Rawa): means the product prepared from clean wheat free from rodent hair and excreta by process of grinding and bolting. Semolina must be free from musty smell and off-odor and shall be creamy yellow in color. It shall conform to standards for Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl, Gluten, and Alcoholic acidity.
BESAN: means the product obtained by grinding de-husked Bengal gram (Cicer arietinum) and shall not contain any added coloring matter or any other foreign ingredient. Besan must conform to standards for Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute hydrochloric acid.
PEARL BARLEY (JAU) is a product obtained from sound and clean barley (Horbeum vulgare or hordeumdistichon). It must be whitish in color and be free from fermented, musty or other objectionable taste or odor, adulterants and insect and fungus infestation and rodent contamination. It shall not contain other food grains more than 1 percent by weight.
Barley powder shall be the product obtained by grinding clean and sound de-husked barley (Hordeum vulgare or Hordeum distichon) grains. Barley starches shall not be less than 98.0 percent by weight. Barley must conform to standards for Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute hydrochloric acid, Crude fiber, and Alcoholic acidity
Wholemeal barley powder or barley flour or choker yukt jau ka churan means the product obtained by grinding clean and sound de-husked barley (Hordeum vulgare or Hordeum distichun) grains which are free from rodent hair and excreta. Barley flour must conform to standards for Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl and Alcoholic acidity.
Food grains are meant for human consumption and are whole or broken kernels of cereals, millets, and pulses. They are free from Argemone, Mexicana and Kesari in any form, added coloring matter and cannot contain nor exceed limits of insecticide residues as specified in Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins, and Residues) Regulation, 2011. Food grains meant for grinding/processing shall be clean, free from all impurities including all extraneous matter.
WHEAT is dried, hard, sweet, clean, wholesome and mature grains of Triticum aestivum Linn. or Triticum vulgare vill, triticum drum Desf. triticum sphaerococcum perc., Triticum dicoccum schubl., Triticum Compactum Host.
MAIZE is the clean, hard, sweet, wholesome, dried mature grains of Zea mays Linn.
JAWAR AND BAJRA are clean, wholesome, hard, sweet, dried, mature grains of Sorghum Vulgare Pers. And Pennisetum – typhyoideum Rich, respectively.
RICE is the mature kernels or pieces of kernels of Oryza sativa Linn. and is obtained from paddy as raw or parboiled. It must be dry, sweet, clean, wholesome and free from unwholesome poisonous substance.
MASUR WHOLE consists of lentil lens culinaris Medik or Even lens Linn. or Lens esculenta Moench and
URD WHOLE consist of the seeds of the pulse phaseolus mungo Linn
MOONG WHOLE consists of seeds of green gram Phaseolous aurues Roxb. Phaseolus radiatus Roxb.
CHANA WHOLE is the dried grains of gram cicer arietinum Linn.
SPLIT PULSE (DAL) ARHAR consists of husk and split seeds of red gram Cajanus cajan (L) Millsp.
SPLIT PULSE (DAL) MOONG consists of split seeds of green grams Phaseolus aureus Roxb, Phaseolus raditus.
SPLIT PULSE (DAL) URD consists of split seeds of pulse Phaseolus mungo Linn.
DAL CHANA consists of split grains of gram Cicer arietinum Linn.
SPLIT PULSE MASUR consists of de-husked whole and splits seed of the lentil Lenil esculenta Moench or Lens culinaris Medik or Ervem lens Linn.
Standards for food grains
- All pulses need to be shall be sound, dry, sweet, clean and wholesome.
- Any other food grains not specified above shall also conform to the standards as given under ‘any other food grains’.
- Food grains must conform to individual standards given for each food grain for
- Foreign or extraneous matter (inorganic matter consisting or metallic pieces, sand, gravel, dirt, pebbles, stones, lumps of earth, clay and mud, animal filth and in the case of rice, kernels or pieces of kernels, if any, having mud sticking on the surface of the rice. Organic matter consisting of husk, straws, weed seeds and other inedible grains and also paddy in the case of rice. This also includes poisonous, toxic and/or harmful seeds that are present in quantities above permissible limit may have damaging or dangerous effect on health, organoleptic properties or technological performance such as dhatura ( fastur linn and D. stramonium linn), corn cokle (Agrostemma githago L, Machai Lallium remulenum linn), Akra (Vicia species)
- Other edible grains ( means any edible grains (including oilseeds) other than the one which is under consideration)
- Damaged grain (means kernels or pieces of kernels that are sprouted or internally damaged as a result of heat, microbe, moisture or whether, viz., ergot affected grain and kernel bunt grains)
- Weevilled grains (means kernels that are partially or wholly bored by insects injurious to grains but does not include germ eaten grains and egg spotted grain)
- Uric acid,
- Aflatoxin and
- Deoxynivalenol (DON) for wheat only
CORNFLOUR (Maize starch) means starch obtained from maize (Zea mays L.) with no added color, flavors or other chemicals. It shall be free from dirt, insects, larvae, and impurities or other extraneous matter. Must conform to standards for Moisture, Total Ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl and Alcoholic acidity
CORN FLAKES means the product obtained from de-hulled, de-germed and cook corn (Zea mays L.) by flaking, partially drying and toasting. It shall be in the form of crisp flakes of reasonably uniform size and golden brown in color. It shall be free from dirt, insects, larvae, and impurities or other extraneous matter. Must conform to standards for Moisture, Total Ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl, Alcoholic acidity
CUSTARD POWDER means the product obtained from maize (Zea mays L.) or sago/tapioca with or without the addition of small quantities of edible starches obtained from arrowroot, potato or jawar (Sorghum vulgare) and with or without the addition of edible common salt, milk, and albuminous matter.
- It may contain permitted colors and flavors.
- It shall be free from any other foreign matter.
- It shall be the form of fine powder, free from rancidity, fermented and musty odour.
- It must adhere to standards for Moisture, Total ash excluding added common salt and Ash insoluble in dilute HCl.
PASTA PRODUCTS are Macaroni, spaghetti, vermicelli and are obtained from suji or maida with or without the addition of ingredients like edible groundnut flour, tapioca flour, soy flour, milk powder, spices, vitamins, minerals, by kneading the dough and extending it. All products must be free from color, dirt, insect larvae and impurities or any other extraneous matter and must conform to standards for Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl and Nitrogen.
MALTED AND MALT BASED FOODS are also part of cereal and cereal products and have already been described on FoodSafetyHelpline.
ROLLED OATS (quick cooking oats) means the product made from sound hulled oats (Avena sativa). they must be free from added colors, rancidity and flavoring agents. Flakes must be of uniform size and be light cream colored and must be free from dirt, insects, and insect fragments and conform to standards for Moisture, Total ash, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl and Nitrogen, Crude Fibre and Alcohol acidity.
SOLVENT EXTRACTED FLOURS
SOLVENT EXTRACT SOYA FLOUR is a product obtained from clean, sound healthy soya beans by a process of cracking, de-hulling, solvent extraction with food grade hexane and grinding. It forms the coarse or fine powder or grits, white to creamy white in color of the uniform composition.
SOLVENT EXTRACTED GROUNDNUT FLOUR means a product obtained from fresh, clean, degermed groundnut kernels which have been decuticled after mild roasting. The kernels are first expelled followed by solvent extraction with food grade hexane or by direct extraction of kernels. It is whitish to light brown in color of the uniform composition.
SOLVENT EXTRACTED SESAME FLOUR is a product obtained by pressing, clean, sound healthy and decuticled sesame seeds followed by solvent extraction with food grade hexane or by direct extraction of kernels. It is in the form of a flour of white or pale creamy white color, of uniform composition
SOLVENT EXTRACTED COCONUT FLOUR is a product obtained from fresh coconut kernels or dried coconut copra of good quality and free from mould. Food grade hexane shall be used for extraction of the oil. It is white or pale brownish yellow color of the uniform composition
SOLVENT EXTRACTED COTTON SEED FLOUR is a product obtained by solvent extraction of oil with food grade hexane from oil cake immediately following the single pressing, from the cotton seed of good quality which have been pre-cleaned and are free from infected or otherwise damage materials and extraneous matter. It is a flour white or pale brownish in color, of uniform composition.
All Solvent Extracted Flours must be
- Free from rancid and objectionable odour, extraneous matter, insects, fungus, rodent hair, and excreta.
- They may not contain any added color and flavor.
- They must conform to individual standards for each product for
- Total ash
- Ash insoluble in dilute HCl
- Protein (Nx6.25)
- Crude fiber
- Total bacterial count
- Coliform bacteria
- Salmonella bacteria
- Hexane (Food grade)
- Oxalic Acid (sesame flour only )
- Available lysine (cottonseed flour only)
- Free gossypol (cottonseed flour only)
- Total gossypol (cottonseed flour only)
ARROWROOT means the separated and purified starch from the rhizomes of the plants known as Maranta arundinacea or from Curcuma augustifolia.
SAGO means small hard globules or pearls made from either the starch of the sago palm or the tubers of tapioca (Manihot utilissima) and must be free from any extraneous matter including natural colors. It must follow the standards for Total Ash and Ash insoluble in dilute hydrochloric acid.
BISCUITS including wafer biscuits are made from maida, vanaspati or refined edible oil or table butter or desi butter or margarine or ghee or their mixture and contain one or more of the following ingredients – edible common salt, butter, milk powder, cereals and their products, cheese cocoa, coffee extract, edible desiccated coconut, dextrose, fruit and fruits products, dry fruit and nuts, egg, edible vegetable products, ginger, gluten groundnut flour, milk and milk products, honey, liquid glucose, malt products, edible oilseeds, flour and meals, spices and condiments, edible starches such as potato starch and edible flours, sugar and sugar products, invert sugar, jaggery, protein concentrates, oligofructose (max 15%) vinegar and other nutrients and vitamins.
- Biscuits may contain food additives specified in FSSAI regulations and may with label declaration as provided in Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
- They need to conform to standards for Ash insoluble in dilute hydrochloric acid and Acidity of extracted fat
BREAD whether sold as white bread or wheat bread or fancy or fruity bread or bun or masala bread or milk bread or of any other name shall mean the product prepared from a mixture of wheat atta, maida, water, salt, yeast or other fermentive media. It may contain one or more of the following ingredients condensed milk, milk powder (whole or skimmed), whey, curd, gluten, sugar, gur or jaggery, honey khandsari, liquid glucose, malt products, edible starches and flour, edible groundnut flour, edible soy flour, protein concentrates and isolates, vanaspati, margarine or refined edible oil of suitable type or butter or ghee or their mixture, albumin,
lime water, lysine, vitamins, spices and condiments or their extracts, fruit and fruit product (Candied and crystallized or glazed), nuts, nut products, oligofructose (max 15%) and vinegar.
- They must conform to standards for alcoholic acidity and ash insoluble in dilute HCL which is different for plain bread and different for masala bread or fruit bread.
- They must be free from dirt, insect and insect fragments, larvae, rodent hairs and added coloring matter except for any permitted food colors present as a carryover color in accordance with the provision in regulation 3.1.17, in the raw material used in the products.
Both biscuits and bread may contain Oligofructose (dietary fibers) up to 15% maximum subject to label declaration under labeling of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.