Quality & Food Safety is
the foundation of any food processing industry. In the sea food industry,
quality control is a very vital element as quality of the products processed is
highly heterogeneous and perishable in nature, particularly under tropical
conditions. Realizing this, the industry has adopted modern methods of handling,
processing besides adequate quality control measures to improve the quality of
Over the past few years, safety
has become very topical subject eliciting a great deal of public concern
particularly in the developed countries, where food safety offences are now
regarded at Government level. Selling, offering for sale, possessing and
or advertising for sale of food that does not comply with food safety
requirements are now offences as per food safety requirements. Enforcement
Officers have been given very detailed and powerful new provisions for dealing
with the process, premises and equipments that contravene the legislation or
pose a threat to the health of the consumer.
As technology advance and public awareness grows, consumers are becoming increasingly demanding in terms of the choice, quality, freshness, nutritional value and microbiological safety of food. Advances in food technology has helped to curtail opportunities for microbiological hazards and significant developments in laboratory diagnosis such as the novel techniques developed viz: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), High Performance Liquid Chromatograph coupled with Mass Spectrometry (HPLC with MS MS) etc. which facilitates not only the detection of pathogens / residue levels much more quickly but also to a level of minute sensitivity. These developments have contributed to major improvement in ensuring safety of food.
cope up with the increasing demand for safe food and to satisfy the needs of
health / quality conscious consumers of the global seafood market, MPEDA has
identified the following thrust areas for development / improvement and
implement programmes as under:
i) Product development for export:
Ø Research and development of new products
Ø Training in new technology and inviting overseas technical
experts to India
ii) Quality improvement
Ø Imparting training to
technologists of Indian seafood industry .
on various aspects of quality control
Ø Entrusting special research
projects on quality problems with
as and when required.
National Research Institutes
as and when required.
Ø Monitoring of seafood quality in
landing and pre-processing
Ø Integrated development programme
for upgrading seafood
quality by providing infrastructural facilities like pre-processing
centers and setting up of mini lab towards quality assurance.
Ø Evolving standards for compliance
for export of fish and
fishery products to various developed countries based on
standards / norms / regulations prescribed by such countries from time to time.
Salient features of some of the standards now being implemented in India are given below:
Regulations (EC)EC Directive No.91/493/EEC dated July 22, 1991 prescribes the health conditions
for the production and placement of fish and fishery products on the unified
European market and came into force with effect from 1.1.1993.
Directive also lays down procedure for fixing conditions for imports from third
countries, depending on health situation in those countries. It stipulates that inspections may be carried out on the spot by experts
from the Commission and the Member States to
assess the capability of the Competent Authority, to verify the conditions of
production, storage and despatch of fish and fishery products to the European
Union. While fixing import
conditions, the European Commission has taken into consideration the following:
The legislation of the exporting
The organization of the Competent
Authority of the exporting
Actual health conditions during
production, storage and dispatch
Assurance, which the exporting
country can give on compliance with EC standards.
Name of the final authority which
issues the health certificate
Organization of the final
authority, its infrastructural facilities for inspection, laboratory testing
authority’s legal basis, which gives its powers and its facilities for
effectively verifying the implementation of the legislation in force.
satisfied with all such requirements, the European Commission has approved
imports from the approved establishments in India.
to the promulgation of US Seafood Regulation on HACCP on 18th
December 1995, it has become mandatory that every processor and importer has to
comply with HACCP with effect from 18.12.1997. MPEDA constituted HACCP Cell in early 1996 to assist the Indian seafood
industry for the effective implementation of HACCP. The major activities of
HACCP Cell are :
Organizing training programmes in
HACCP basic principles, audit etc. for the benefit of technical personnel in the
seafood industry and related departments. So
far, 32 such programmes were organized for the benefit of over 900 technical
Assisting the seafood
establishments in the preparation of HACCP manual, certification of such
manuals, certification of HACCP compliance etc. So far, 26 processing establishments in India are issued with HACCP
compliance certificate by MPEDA.
Inviting Consultants from US FDA, NMFS, FAO / INFOFISH etc. from time to time which facilitates in updating
knowledge on HACCP and strengthen the technical base of MPEDA and the industry.
Ø Technical personnel of MPEDA are trained in India and abroad on various aspects of HACCP including HACCP Audit.
Besides, MPEDA Lab at Cochin has facilities to test seafood samples for heavy metals, pesticides and antibiotic residues using advanced technology. Apart from maintaining good rapport with regulatory authorities in the importing countries, MPEDA is serving as a member in the Export Inspection Council of India, Bureau of Indian Standards and National Committee of Codex Alimentarius.