Bathinda, October 12
In a first among the Technical Universities of the state, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University, (MRSPTU), Bathinda will soon start testing and certifying food items at its campus with the setting up of State-of-the-Art Food Testing Laboratory in the University. It will empower the University to certify food items for their nutritional value and check for adulteration.
Food Testing Laboratory Project has been approved by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MFPI), Government of India to the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST), MRSPTU, Bathinda, Punjab. The grant-in-aid for setting up of testing facility is Rs. 253.12 Lakh besides other components.
It may be mentioned here that Food Processing is third largest Industry (after ammunition and pharmaceutical) in the World.
MRSPTU, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Buta Singh Sidhu said that Food Testing Laboratory Mechanism will boost the food processing sector in the state, which would benefit all stakeholders i.e. farmers, industry, producers and consumers, domestic industry (Domestic and exports), entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises in the business of Food Products in the region.
Briefing about the project, Food Science and Technology, Department Head, Dr. Kawaljit Singh Sandhu said that the objective of the laboratory is to analyse the samples received from food processing industry and other stakeholders; to ensure compliance of domestic/international standards on food; to establish a surveillance system for monitoring the quality and composition of food; to reduce the time taken for analysis of samples by reducing transportation time of samples.
It is worthwhile to mention here that Dr. Kawaljit Singh Sandhu have been listed in the World ranking of top 2 per cent Best Scientists in an independent study conducted by Stanford University (USA) recently.
Giving more details, Mrs. Rajvir Kaur and Miss Gurjinder Kaur Sidhu (both Assistant Professors) said that the establishment of State-of-the-Art Food Testing Laboratory in the Department is in full swing, which will have advance instruments like Gas Chromatography, High Performance Liquid Chromatography, Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometer, Fourier-transform infrared Spectrophotometer, Ultraviolet-Visible Spectrophotometer, Rotary Evaporator etc.
These instruments will detect pesticides, toxic heavy metals, nutritional elements, essential metals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, amino acids etc. in raw as well as processed foods. As the very purpose of the laboratory will be analysing samples of food processing industries in nearby areas, it will be boon for the food industries of Bathinda in particular and Punjab in general.
Dr. Kawaljit Singh Sandhu said “Our lab will have most sophisticated high-end equipment to check for adulteration and quality and will be at par with any international laboratories,”.
Dr. Sandhu further said that nominal fee will be fixed for testing of various constituents of foods, check adulterated food and beverages (like milk, water, edible oils and other items of food for daily consumption) so that food industry is benefitted. He stressed that the testing of processed foods for safety issues be given prime importance as it directly affects our health and well-being. As more and more food adulteration cases are coming up the food testing becomes a necessity.
While appreciating the unique initiatives of the FST department, Prof. Buta Singh Sidhu said that as Punjab is the food bowl of India and the biggest contributor to Central pool of Food grains, the potential for food processing is enormous. Also, among the industrial clusters of Punjab, Bathinda is selected for Agriculture and Food Processing. With such strategic location and favourable government policies more food processing industries are being set up, he said.
Registrar of the University, Dr. Gurinder Pal Singh Brar and Dean Research and Development, Dr. Ashish Baldi congratulated the Department of Food Science and Technology for the initiative.
It is worthwhile to mention here that Department of Food Science and Technology in a very short span have managed to mark its presence at national level by providing advanced research in the field of Food Sciences.
Why need for Food Testing Laboratory:
The quality infrastructure is must to produce the world class processed food products in India. The Indian food products face the tough competition from global companies which produces high quality standard food products. To overcome this situation and to produce global quality food products in India then a Quality and Food Safety system has to be implemented to meet the global quality standard.
For quality check and testing, Food Testing Laboratory plays very important role. Western countries have put a strong food testing laboratory system to check and maintain the high quality food products. India too is following the same system to produce the world class quality products.
As per norms laid by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is getting tougher, it will be requisite for those in food processing business to get their product tested. This will also help our food processing industries to compete nationally and globally.