Microbiological safety in food is an important aspect of food safety. Although outbreaks of food borne illnesses are common, there is no effective method for surveillance available. In India, poor handling and storage on the farm, poor infrastructure in terms of cold storage and warehousing, inadequate quality control and testing infrastructure, and poor transportation conditions encourage food spoilage. It is both the responsibility of the food industry and consumers to ensure that their food is microbiologically safe. This review discusses the potential causes of breakdown in security of food; the regulations and how India manages the food safety issues.
India has a population of 1.1 billion, and it is comprised of 28 states and seven Union Territories (under federal government rule). The states differ vastly in resources, food habits, and living standards. About 75 percent of the country's people live in its 550,000 villages and the rest in 200 towns and cities. There are 27 cities with a population above one million people. India has the largest number of poor, with 35 percent of the population surviving on less than US$1 per day, and 80 percent of the population surviving on less than $2 per day. Nearly 51 percent of Indians' consumption expenditures are on food (54 percent in rural areas and 42 in urban areas) and it is mostly for basic items like grains, vegetable oils, and sugar; very little goes for value added food items (Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Mumbai, 2006).
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The diet in India consists mainly of parathas, rotis (unleavened flatbread) and naans (leavened flatbread) which are cooked in earthen ovens half buried in the ground and rice as the staple food. Dairy foods such as paneer (unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese), popular drink lassi (a sweet or salted drink made with curd) are consumed. The five basic spices used are zeera, kalaunji, saunf, fenugreek and mustard seeds although many more spices are usually used. Snacks would be sweetmeats made from burnt milk and sugar, yogurt flavoured with saffron, cardamom, nuts and candied fruit, and crisp samosas. Lentils and vegetables, potatoes, brinjal, and green beans and other vegetable are consumed. Biryanis (flavoured rice with marinated chicken, fish or other meat and vegetables), curries and stuffed parathas are the more distinct foods (Food Corporation of India, 2009).
India is the largest milk producing country in the world with a present level of annual milk production estimated as 94.5 million tonnes. Around 35% of milk is pasteurized predominantly by state cooperatives, multinational companies, or government dairy plants packaging milk, milk powders, cheese, and ice cream. Of the unpasteurized remainder, 33% remains in the farm or village of production and 51% is distributed by unregulated small vendors, sweet makers, and small dairy units or sold as fresh, non-pasteurized milk. The milk products are liquid milk and traditional products such as ghee, dahi (yoghurt-like substance), Khoya (partially desiccated milk), Chhana and Paneer (unprocessed cottage cheese), and milk powder. The fruits and vegetable processing industry is highly decentralized, and a large number of units are in the cottage, household and small-scale sector, having small capacities of up to 250 tonnes per annum. India tops in meat, milk and eggs production, but the exports are very low because of quality considerations.
India today produces over 200 million tonnes of food grains (wheat, paddy and coarse grains) and the Food Corporation purchases roughly 15-20% of India's wheat production and 12-15% of its rice production anually. The FCI transported the foodgrains from the surplus States, mainly the Northern States, to the deficit States. About 256.65 Lakh tonnes of foodgrains and 1.91 Lakh tonnes of sugar were transported over an average distance of 1500 Kms in year 2008-2009. The foodgrains and sugar are transported via rail, road, andinland waterways (Food Corporation of India, 2009).
Potential for Food Spoilage
India is a developing country and is characterized by widespread poverty and lack of access to basic sanitation and hygiene for much of its population. Food safety is one of the key issues that India faces as it has very low priority at all levels, and there is limited awareness on the importance of hygiene and the seriousness of food borne illnesses. Although outbreaks of food borne illnesses are common, there is no effective method for surveillance available. Without such data, realistic risk assessment is difficult to carry out and also consumer perception of the risk of food borne illnesses is very low. Steps must be taken to collect such data for the food safety management system (Marthi, 1999).
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Studies carried out at the Hindustan Lever Research Centre (HLRC), revealed that fresh vegetables were found to contain coliforms at levels ranging from 1 x 102 to 4 x 104 Colony Forming Units per gram (CFU/g) (unpublished data). The situation with meat products is likely to be worse, given the following reasons. Firstly, there is a lack of good animal husbandry practices in breeding and rearing; secondly, the quality of the animals and poultry used for meat is poor; thirdly, there is very poor hygiene in the slaughterhouses where meat is processed; and lastly, there are inadequate systems for storage, distribution and display of meat for sale.
Another potential source of contamination is the poor quality of water that is used for food processing. The HLRC had carried out studies revealing that potable water across the country did not conform to WHO guidelines for safety and quality (unpublished data). When such water is used for food processing, the risk of microbiological contamination is increased significantly.
The high ambient temperature in India coupled with the poorly developed infrastructure (transportation and ineffective cold chain) is a driver for potential of food spoilage. India does not have the necessary infrastructure to maintain the safety of perishable food products. Refrigerated warehousing and transportation facilities are limited and costly, resulting in high storage losses in perishable food items. Often, food products spend a very long time under undesirable conditions of high temperature, high humidity and poor hygiene during the course of transportation and storage. An inadequate and erratic electric power supply constrains cold chain development. The cold chain in India is very poorly developed, and temperature abuse during storage and distribution can lead to serious safety defects in perishable refrigerated or frozen products such as ice cream. Thus, the supply chain poses much problem to the food industry in terms of keeping the food microbiologically safe.
Many households lack home refrigeration and most Indians shop daily at neighborhood kirana shops (small retail outlets) or roadside vendors. Although quality is important, lack of purchasing power results in most Indians to buy the cheaper poorer quality alternative (Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Mumbai, 2006).
The culture in India poses a problem to food safety awareness. Due to overpopulation, there is a lack of food, thus food safety has not traditionally been a priority. Epidemiology and surveillance mechanisms are poor, and the public perception of the risks of food borne illness is also very low. Consumers do not believe that food borne illness is a major issue in India, thus the consumers do not lobby for food safety. This has made it difficult for the food industry to sell the concept of food safety and HACCP systems to consumers. Companies are reluctant to spend money on improving food safety as there is little commercial rationale for improving food safety in relation to the costs of making such improvements (B. Marthi, 2001).
The Role of the Government
The predominantly unorganized retail sector, and outdated food law does little to help protect the consumers from microbiologically unsafe food. Until recently, India has little systematic quality management or even agreed standards of good manufacturing practice (GMP). The food processing industry's initial focus was on product and market development, reducing further the impetus to improve food safety systems. Hygiene and safety were part of a cycle where legislation was not very effective and there was very poor surveillance of food borne disease, which led to an underestimation of risk, which in turn did not provide incentives for the food industry to implement better food safety systems. Indian food laws are also part of the problem. There are more than 20 different pieces of legislation governing foods which made it difficult to follow or regulate. Most of the legislation, for example the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, was very prescriptive and punitive. The PFA Act, for example, was initially developed to deal with food adulteration issues but in recent years, where the emphasis is on safety and quality, such legislation has lost most of its relevance and needs to be rewritten. Thus, the Food Safety and Standards Act was created (B. Marthi, 2001).
Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, the Food Authority will test food for biological agents and investigate food borne disease outbreaks. Up till present, there have been no regular programs for monitoring contaminants in the country's food supply. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, have conducted occasional monitoring programs for evaluating pesticides residues, heavy metals and aflatoxin status in agricultural commodities, milk and marine products. However, this effort is not sufficient to provide the information required by the government to make sound and long lasting measures to prevent food contaminants from reaching the consumer. It also lacks conformity with international requirements. Thus, there is a need to develop a comprehensive national food contaminants monitoring program that takes into account the country's food safety priorities, as well as the geographic, agro climatic and population characteristics.
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The Food Safety and Standards Bill was passed in 2005 in order to establish science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, import, export, storage, distribution, and sale. The Bill brought all existing food-related legislation together, which was under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (Ministry of Food Processing Industries, 2009). The Indian Parliament passed the Food Safety and Standards Act in 2006 to ensure the availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
Occurences of Outbreaks
Instances such as in the following reports are common in India.
There was a food poisoning outbreak where more than 1000 persons suffered food poisoning after consuming "rotis" made from Singhara flour (water chestnut) in Bairagarh and nearby villages. The specially made rotis were for people who broke fast. The symptoms were vomiting, partial blindness, dehydration and giddiness. Dr. Rajesh Kumar Vaid, a Scientist from the Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology reported that the Rotis were not stored for more then 24 hrs. As rotis of Singhara were eaten very rarely, suspicion was that the supplier had kept the flour from a long time ago to sell it for the religious occasion. The possibility that the flour was contaminated with bacteria like Bacillus cereus was unlikely, and it was suspected to be contaminated with chemical or fungi. However, he expressed that without information from the authorities, it was impossible to determine the causal factors (Dr. Rajesh Vaid, 2000 ). Thus, it can be seen that there is no proper route for investigation of food borne outbreaks to determine the cause.
60 students of a residential school in the City were admitted to the Vani Vilas Hospital due to food poisoning. It was suspected that the idli and sambar served for breakfast at the Sri Morarji Desai Model Residential School in Chamarajpet was the cause. The students started vomiting and complained of stomach ache soon after breakfast. Out of the 215 students, 45 were given Intra Venous (IV) fluids due to complaints ofstomach ache and vomiting and 22 students were in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and in a stable condition. The rest were screened and given symptomatic treatment in the Out Patient Department. This is one of the few instances where a case of food poisoning was registered with the police station and the food samples sent for testing. Separately, even the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had also taken samples of the food from the hostel for testing.
Officials from the Social Welfare Department had conducted food quality check just 15 days back at the residential school in the City. However, the Bangalore Taluk Officer did not wish to comment any further on the food poisoning case. The Karnataka Residential Educational Institutions Society that keeps tabs on the supply of quality food grains had said that only the supply of food materials was checked, but cooked food was not checked. Meanwhile, the BBMP in its inspection had found that the kitchen, the storeroom and the rest of the dining facilities of the school were below satisfactory conditions and preliminary findings points towards food contamination. The changes to be made have been sent to the school and the principal of the institution has already agreed to the maintenance upgrading (DHNS, 2009) . From this report, it can be seen that hygiene in the school was compromised and this is probably the case in the other schools too.
Coliforms being an important indicator organism for predicting unhygienic conditions during production and processing has probably been given more attention as compared to the other pathogens. Among the coliforms, Escherichia coli have been associated with outbreaks of gastro-enteritis and food poisoning in human beings. It has been found that some strains of Staphylococcus aureus was entering milk products and causing acute gastroenteritis via the production of heat stable enterotoxins.
Traditional snacks such as chakali, murukku and thengul-different versions made from rice flour and black gram dal flour are prepared on a small scale and sold through retail stores. A large cottage industry manufactures traditional snacks by employing many people, especially women who have recipes and skills for consistently making excellent products. The production of some snacks is more organized. Large food cooperatives arrange toha ve papads made from black gram flour in households according to their specifications and sell them with their brand name. Other products, like farsan, may be prepared in larger batches, 10-12 kg at a time. Factories produce fried snacks like farsan, chivda and shev in quantities up to one ton a day and distribute their products over large areas (Sumati R. Mudambi & M.V. Rajagopal, 2001). Thus, as the snacks are prepared from home and there is no standard set of hygiene conditions that is maintained, there is great potential for contamination and spoilage.
Case Study 1
Sweetmeat is a common and popular food in India and the public health of the sweetmeat consumers should be looked after through hygienic preparation to reduce the microbial load. Therefore the following example is research on the hygienic measures adopted by the food handlers and makers during sweetmeat preparation and their reflection in the microbiological quality of the sweetmeats. The sweetmeats in this study are Sandesh and Kalakand (solidified, sweetened milk and cottage cheese).
The respondents were drawn randomly for each category of makers and handlers from the randomly selected shops for each sample (Sandesh and Kalakand) in both rural and urban areas. 19 makers and 11 handlers in urban areas and 28 makers and 2 handlers in rural areas were selected. Face to face interviews were conducted using a structured questionnaire. Standard Plate Count and coliform count for each sample was carried out according to the procedures prescribed in IS (1981) SP: 18(Part XI). ISI, Handbook of Food analysis and dairy products. Morphological characterization, identification and biochemical characterization of Staphylococcus species were done as per the method outlined by IS (1980) SP: 18(Part I) ISI, Hand book of Food analysis and dairy products.
None of the respondents wore apron and gloves during preparation. The urban respondents cut their finger nails more regularly than the rural respondents. In rural areas, 86.67% and 73.33% of the respondents engaging in Sandesh and Kalakand. preparation respectively and did not cut their nails regularly. In investigating spitting habits, the rural respondents spit more frequently than urban respondents. The spitting incidence was highest (53.33%) in Kalakand preparations in the rural areas. These acts potentially caused the sweets to become more prone to contamination by pathogenic organisms.
Hand washing before starting the preparation although high in urban areas (86.67%), it was very low in rural areas (13.33%). These good hygienic measures were more common in urban areas compared to rural areas and thus increased the risk of contamination in rural areas. Only 53.33% of the sweet shops in the rural area have fly proof showcases. Thus, flies which are more abundant in rural areas contribute to microbiological contamination. Rodents were found in all the rural shops but in urban areas there were a few shops that were free of rodents. There were better hygienic conditions in this regard in urban areas than in rural areas.
47 coagulase positive strains of staphylococci were isolated from both the sweets and were subjected to various biochemical tests, the results of which are shown in table 3. Out of the 15 Kalakand samples taken from urban and rural areas, 12 (80%) and 10 (66.66%) were coagulase positive respectively. The higher count of coagulase positive Staphylococci in Sandesh than Kalakand may be due to the fact that there is a higher level of heat treatment, lesser moisture and higher sucrose contents in the Kalakand (S. Chakraborty, 2005 ).
Thus, from the above case study, it can be seen that the potential food spoilage comes from contamination from pests, personnel, equipment and poor hygiene conditions especially in the local food shops where the makers and handlers have little education and do not understand the principles of microbiological food safety.
Case Study 2
Several species of Vibrio can cause symptoms of gastroenteritis. The symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhoea (watery stools containing blood), nausea and vomiting, mild fever, chills, and headache. Within 2 to 24 hours of consumption of contaminated seafood or water, symptoms may appear. This may last for two to five days and severe cases result in death. The major species that are associated with contaminated water, fish and seafood are Vibrio cholera and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Raw fish, shellfish, crustacea, and fish products and water contaminated with sewage or untreated water have been implicated as the source of the food borne infection from the Vibrio species. The bacteria can be destroyed by thorough cooking of seafood and using clean utensils and serving equipment can prevent recontamination of cooked seafood ("Food Safety India - Vibrio," 2003).
In a developing country like India, outbreaks of cholera caused by toxigenic V. cholerae O1 and O139 (Bengal strain) is a major public-health problem. Epidemics of severe dehydrating diarrhoea due to a new serotype of Vibrio cholerae were first reported from southern India in October 1992 and from the coastal regions of Bangladesh in December of the same year. In Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, an outbreak of cholera-like diarrhoea occurred in mid- January 1993. By the end of March of the same year, 107,297 cases of diarrhoea and 1,473 deaths had been reported. It was later established that the epidemics in India and Bangladesh were caused by a single, previously unknown serotype of V. cholerae. The organism has been characterized as Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal. During the epidemic in Bangladesh, adults were predominantly affected, and they suffered from severe dehydrating diarrhoea (M. Shahadat Hossain, Mohammed Abdus Salam, & G.H. Rabbani, 2000).
In Punjab and Haryana states of northern India, during July-September 2007, 6 clusters of cholera outbreak were identified. A total of 745 case-patients were admitted to local government hospitals; the cholera attack rate was 183/1,000 population. Four deaths were reported (case-fatality rate 0.5%). The number of cases per cluster varied from 15 to 400, and adults were primarily affected (74%); 20% of patients had severe dehydration. V. cholerae O1 Ogawa was confirmed from stool cultures by using standard isolation, biochemical, and serotyping methods.
During the cholera outbreak of 2002 in Chandigarh, only 1 death was reported (case-fatality rate, <0.01%); the attack rate was 20/1,000, 58.6% were children, and only 10% had severe dehydration. Before the most recent outbreak, the affected regions of Panjab and Haryana (Ambala, Nurpur, Kurali, Mohali, Panchkula, and Raili) had been free of cholera outbreaks since 1994, though sporadic cases had been reported. The 4 deaths from cholera in 2007, along with adult preponderance, high attack rate, more severe illness, and 6 different clusters, point towards a change in the disease's epidemiology. (Taneja N, Mishra A, Sangar G, Singh G, & Sharma M, 2009).
Case Study 3
Listeria monocytogenes is a psychrotrophic pathogen which is widely distributed in the natural environment and consequently present in various animal products. L. monocytogenes has been involved in numerous outbreaks of listeriosis and one of the occurrences is through consumption of milk and milk products. Consumption of contaminated foods may result in Influenza-like symptoms, including persistent fever and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The onset time to serious forms of listeriosis is unknown but may range from a few days to three weeks. The onset time to gastrointestinal symptoms is unknown but it probably exceeds 12 hours (US Food and Drug Administration, 2009).
As mentioned earlier, the dairy processing industry in India is growing rapidly, yet systematic studies on large number of raw milk samples for L. monocytogenes are lacking. The aim of the present study was to study the occurrence of L. monocytogenes in bovine raw milk samples. A total of 2060 milk samples from dairy cows were collected from different dairy farms located within Central India during 2002-2004 in different seasons. All the samples were collected aseptically, transported to the laboratory under chilled conditions and processed for microbiological analysis.
These samples were examined for Listeria spp. throughout the two-year sampling period. One hundred thirty-nine samples (6.74%) were positive for Listeria spp. Isolation of L. monocytogenes was higher in autumn (7.76%) and summer (5.28%) than winter and spring (Table 1). Between seasons isolation rates of L. monocytogenes were statistically significant (v2 = 7.82; P < 0.05). The sources of Listeria spp. in raw milk have been reported to be faecal and environmental contamination during milking, storage and transport, infected cows in dairy farms and poor silage quality.
The prolonged excretion of the organism in milk, the apparently normal appearance of the milk in majority cases and the consumption of raw milk, especially on farms, could be important factors in the transmission and epidemiology of Listeria infection. The contamination sources of Listeria spp. in raw milk are probably insufficient hygiene during milking, storage and transport of milk. Considering the level of incidence of L. monocytogenes in dairy cows, it seems likely that L. monocytogenes may be transferred to humans or to milk products by raw milk or milk that have not been correctly pasteurized or that have been contaminated post pasteurization with raw milk. Hence, it is necessary to maintain strict hygiene and practice of pasteurization of raw milk besides regular screening of dairy cows for mastitis in order to minimize the human health risk (D.R. Kalorey, S.R. Warke, N.V. Kurkure, D.B. Rawool, & Barbuddhe, 2008).
Case Study 4
It has been revealed that the microbiology quality of the ice cream in different parts of India is low (Pednekar et al., 1997). A systematic evaluation of 30 ice creams of two different brands and of different flavours from two localities in Mumbai showed that there was an incidence of L. monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica at 3% for each bacterium. Some of the samples had high counts of aerobic bacteria and coliforms which do not meet the specifications prescribed by Indian Standards (Warke et al., 1999). The effect of irradiation on microbiological quality of the ice cream, irradiated and unirradiated samples were melted by keeping at 4°C for 2 h and used to enumerate aerobic mesophilic bacterial, moulds, coliforms, Staphylococcus aureus and B. cereus and isolate pathogens like Listeria, Yersinia and Salmonella. A sensory evaluation was conducted within 1 week after the samples undergone irradiation treatment.
From, table 4, it can be seen that the respective microbial load was reduced by approximately 1 and 2 log cycles after irradiation to 1 and 2 kGy. The initial count of B. cereus, 3 x 102 cfu / ml, was reduced to 30 cfu /ml after the 2-kGy dose and was not detected in samples irradiated to 5 kGy and above. 1.9 x 103 cfu / ml of S. aureus which was present initially, was reduced to 6 x 102 and 1.6 x 102 cfu / ml after irradiation to 1 and 2 kGy, respectively. Listeria spp were not detected in ice cream exposed to the 1-kGy dose. There was no significant difference in the acceptability for all flavours of the unirradiated ice cream and ice cream exposed to 1 kGy at 5% level of confidence (Anu Kamat 2000).
From this study, it can be concluded that a radiation dose of 1 kGy is sufficient to eliminate most of the naturally present pathogens without adversely affecting the sensory attributes of all three flavours of ice cream tested. Thus, one of the methods that India could deal with high microbial load would be to irradiate food products.
Food Safety Knowledge and Measures
A study was done to understand the food safety knowledge, perceptions, and practices of adolescent girls. The findings concluded that the subjects were confused between the concept of nutrition with food safety and they were not aware of quality symbols like ISI (Bureau of Indian Standards), FPO (Fruit Products Order), and AGMARK (Agriculture Marking and Grading Act); and they were less careful about snack food safety. In India, improper cooking and cross-contamination is not perceived as major food concerns and instead, their concerns revolve around freshness of ingredients, cleanliness of surroundings, and personal hygiene at all levels of domestic food handling. Food safety education should be carried out in the schools so that consumers will be able to take measures and prevent abuse of food (Subba Rao et al, 2009).
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had established a food safety website and to promote knowledge of food safety, the safe practices to keep and help consumers including housewives & children, Industry & Trade, Central and State Regulatory Authorities in understanding the basic concept of food safety and their role in keeping food safe and fit for consumption. One of the concepts taught was the Consumer Control Points whereby the critical points identified were purchasing, storing, pre-preparation, cooking, serving, and handling leftovers. These handling practices by consumers in the home have been identified as being essential or critical in preventing or controlling the food microbial contamination associated with food borne illness as they are under the direct control of the consumer, from food acquisition through disposal. Thus, educating the public that failure to take appropriate action at these critical points could result in foodborne illness is one of the ways that the India government is using to deal with food safety issues ("Food Safety India - Consumer Control Points," 2003).
The Food Authority of India is responsible for setting standards and limits for contaminants, devising procedures, indicating methods of analysis, setting out guidelines for accreditation of laboratories, conducting surveys, maintaining data and organizing training programs with regards to microbiological safety of food.
The Food Authority will require information and data on biological hazards in foods, epidemiological surveys of consumer populations, and investigations of food borne disease outbreaks. Monitoring and surveillance data allow the identification of potential area of focus so that subsequent action could be taken by the Food Authority. The data would also allow evaluation of the effectiveness of sanitary measures in contributing to food safety. There is a need to develop a comprehensive and well designed national food contaminants monitoring program that takes into account the country's food safety priorities, as well as the geographic, agro climatic and population characteristics.
The increasing use of preventive measures such as the use of safe raw materials, application of good manufacturing practices, and application of Hazard Analysis of Critical Control point (HACCP) procedures are ways in which India handles the food safety issues. Precaution against contamination must be taken at different Critical Control Points to improve the microbiological quality of the food. In addition, companies are encouraged to carry out microbiological data of end product to ensure that the consumer is protected from microbiologically unsafe food. (Roy et al., 1998).
Although diarrhoea diseases are very common throughout the country, the food borne illness statistics are not very easily obtainable or do not exist and the contribution of foods to the overall incidence of disease is not known. Poor handling and storage on the farm, poor infrastructure in terms of cold storage and warehousing, inadequate quality control and testing infrastructure, poor quality of water that is used for food processing and poor transportation conditions encourage food spoilage. Educating the public on food safety in terms of hygiene and good practices will help reduce food borne outbreaks.
From the first case study, it is concluded that potential food spoilage comes from contamination from pests, personnel, equipment and poor hygiene conditions especially in the local food shops where the makers and handlers have little education and do not understand the principles of microbiological food safety. From the third case study, the contamination sources of Listeria spp. in raw milk are probably insufficient hygiene during milking, storage and transport of milk. Thus, it is necessary to maintain strict hygiene and practice of pasteurization of raw milk besides regular screening of dairy cows for mastitis in order to minimize the human health risk. From the fourth case study, one of the methods that India could deal with high microbial load would be to irradiate food products.
The increasing use of preventive measures such as the use of safe raw materials, application of good manufacturing practices, and application of Hazard Analysis of Critical Control point (HACCP) procedures are ways in which India handles the food safety issues. Precaution against contamination must be taken at different Critical Control Points to improve the microbiological quality of the food. In addition, companies are encouraged to carry out microbiological data of end product to ensure that the consumer is protected from microbiologically unsafe food.
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