The essence of food is getting diluted, there is a threat of invasion from multiple intruders. The issues concerning food-safety and public health must be dealt with utmost seriousness. Food safety concerns are driving Food Regulatory Authorities across Europe, USA and every other developed country to enforce rigid laws and build bigger barriers for ensuring that strict vigilance translates to better control of food-safety hazards for safeguarding public health.
Today, there is a dramatic shift in handling the “Threat Perception” from just implementing checks and controls at the entry points by importing nations to increasing awareness about “Responsible Sourcing”.
Importers are looking for ways to build a safe passage to spice which is under constant threat of Microbiological, Chemical and Physical contamination through its journey from the farm-to-table.
“On1y Earth” is an attempt to establish how Jayanti has made “Continuity ofFood-Safe Supplies” a possibility through its various sustainable initiatives along the supply chain.
With a 75-year old history in food business behind us, our passion for authentic Herbs & Spice binds us with our roots. In its most literal sense, we tend to plantations in origins through our backward integration programs in farming to ensure uncompromising quality right from the grass-roots.
We keep abreast of the Spice industry developments and probe into the food alerts issued by International Food Regulatory Authorities from time to time to assess our preparedness to encounter such threats.
According to the recent notifications issued by the European Rapid Alert System for Food imports, a total of 6 Turmeric (Organic Curcuma Powder) consignments have been detained at the German border this year running up to May 2017.
Another importer in U.S.A had to recall huge quantities of Bulk and Ground Turmeric following complaints of presence of unacceptable levels of lead in 2016.
In this issue we briefly examine how Lead enters the food chain and what precautions can be taken to minimise its occurrence in agro-commodities, mainly Turmeric.
Lead contamination is not restricted to any one food segment or a class of industry. Food poisoning due to lead is a universal problem. Nestle-India was embroiled in a legal battle and was forced to shut down its factories in India in 2015 after its popular 2-minute Maggie noodle snack was found to have unacceptably high levels of lead content. The food-scare reached such enormous levels that Nestle had to stop further production and recall its products from super-market shelves across India.
We are encountering serious problems, that which need to be investigated, understood and nipped in the bud. These anxious moments are pushing food-suppliers into overdrive to build a safety-net around their products to ensure they are not a prey to foreseeable risks. Yet, there are no easy solutions to these problems as our agricultural and research scientists report from the farms they are working on to ensure Herbs & Spice that we grow, procure, process and pack maintain the highest standards of food safety and quality.
How does lead contamination occur in food?
Major causes of lead contamination in food are environmental pollutants entering the food chain from industrial emissions, mining activities and use of leaded petrol.
Contamination can also occur due to storage of food in lead-soldered cans, lead-glazed ceramic vessels and leaded crystal glass. Use of lead as a material in water pipes is also seen as a cause for presence of unacceptably high levels of lead in water supplies.
How do we Control Lead Contamination of Food?
All agricultural commodities are highly vulnerable to lead contamination. Lead is naturally occurring in soil and its levels can increase due to rampant industrial development activities, uncontrolled use of pesticides and burning of fossil fuels.
As a first step towards ensuring food-safety our agronomists conduct chemical analysis of soil and water. Soil samples are collected and lab tests conducted to identify areas suitable for sourcing while discarding regions with high concentration of lead and heavy metals.
- Farms that are located away from processing units and heavy traffic roads are selected following lab tests.
- We have identified large areas in Athaniin Karnataka and Ellore, in Tamil Nadu for backward integration program in Turmeric Farming.
- Though we have not been able to achieve 100% success in eliminating its presence, significant progress has been made in minimising the risk of lead contamination in Turmeric grown in these regions.
- Our agronomists have implemented Integrated Pest & Disease Management Programs and Good Agricultural Practices in a systematic manner. These initiatives have helped us in guaranteeing a chemical and pesticide-residue free product.
- Maximum acceptable level of lead in Food Supplements under the framework of EU Regulations is in the range of 3 Mg/Kg.
- Turmeric grown in regions under our Backward Integration Program and processed in our BRC Certified Plants conform to these standards.
- However, these results are bound to change for the better with noticeable improvements recorded in farm-level productivity and sanitary conditions in surrounding areas following Jayanti Sustainable standards.
- Reasonable care is taken to enrich soil with organic nutrients while monitoring the soil-moisture level for optimal plant growth.
- Jayanti’s farm Guide in regional languages helps farmers understand the basic processes to be followed for maximising farm-yield. It is a mini pocket- calendar that takes them through the various activities to be followed unfailingly during sowing, harvesting, drying and packing to mitigate the threat of pre-and post-harvest contamination due to improper handling of farm-produce.Besides, regular interaction with on-field supervisors has greatly influenced farmer’s outlook on food-safety measures to be taken for mutual benefit.
- Our efforts are constantly directed towards identifying the source of contamination and eliminating the same before any potential risk can translate to a real threat to human life.
- We will continue publishing updates on Jayanti’s Tryst with Sustainability. If you wish to support our endeavours or know more about them please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.