Friday, January 18, 2019


An Overview of Regulatory Requirements for Transportation and Storage of Bread in India
Wednesday, 02 May, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Anurag Mishra
While the overall bread industry is growing at CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 9% from last three years and expected to be US$0.8bn by 2020, industries and business partners need to be ready for more volume, new warehouses, more outlets and retailers.

Among all, what stands out is ‘quality’ of the product and due to competition, consumer awareness and regulations, most of the companies are maintaining quality & food safety while manufacturing. But it’s equally important to maintain the quality in distribution and storage till product reaches the consumer so that the consumer can enjoy the signature taste and quality which was maintained during the manufacturing. It’s all about caring your stock during distribution and storing in warehouse, distributor’s place.

Recent studies have shown that a great amount of raw and finished products get deteriorated due to poor transportation & storage and bread is one of them. The truth is that baked goods are at their prime, the moment they come out of the oven — especially, bread.

As soon as loaf begins to cool, its quality begins to diminish. But with proper distribution and storage, we can maintain the quality of bread as good as freshly baked. Room temperature is ideal for maintaining proper crumb and crust texture of bread. But in addition to proper temperature, you also need to manage your bread’s air exposure. There are two main culprits of stale bread. The first is a chemical change with a particularly fancy name: Starch retrogradation. As soon as bread is removed from the oven, the structure of the starch molecules changes and they begin to crystallise. This crystallisation forces water out of the bread and the result is a nasty staleness. The second contributor is a loss of moisture due to air exposure. Starch retrogradation occurs most rapidly at refrigerator temperature.

FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has developed detailed and specific requirements to be followed by all FBOs (Food Beverage Operators) which includes bakery industries as well. For distribution and storage, FSSAI has divided requirements into five buckets i.e., Design & Facilities, Control of Operation, Maintenance & Sanitation, Personal Hygiene and Training & Complaint Handling.

We will understand all five requirements in detail:
Transportation Requirements
Design of the Vehicle: It’s important to ensure stock is transported in a controlled way which includes vehicle must be covered properly so the stock is free from contaminants like dust, dirt, infestation and other foreign materials and prevented from bad weather. The design & construction of transport vehicle must permit adequate maintenance, cleaning, storage of food and bar entry or harborage to pests. Transport vehicle should be equipped to achieve & maintain the required temperature, wherever required and designed in a way that allows monitoring the temperature from outside. To avoid exposure to external weather conditions and pilferage, the vehicle must have proper locking/ sealing facility.

Operational Control: The transporter must have FSSAI licence for transporting breads. Before loading the stock, vehicle must be inspected for debris, dust, previous loads, pest activity and other non-food or hazardous items (record of this inspection must be maintained as Food Safety Officer-FSO may check the same at the time of visit). Hazardous material like chemicals, fuels, flammable materials must not be transported with food material as this may lead to chemical hazards to the product and in case of mixed food load, materials must be compartmentalised to prevent cross contamination. For smaller companies it will not be possible to have a dedicated vehicle so it’s possible to use random vehicles for transportation but if a vehicle is changed from transporting non-food products to transporting food products, proper cleaning is conducted to avoid contamination of food and record of this activity must be maintained.

Maintenance and Sanitation: The interior of vehicle should be kept clean and there are no seepage, cobwebs, dirt, dust and so on that can compromise food safety. The pest control programme for vehicle should also be for available & pest control activities are carried out by trained and experienced personnel (records should be maintained). Foods which become unfit during transportation whether due to temperature abuse or otherwise are identified and disposed of in a manner that precludes the food from being used for human consumption.

Personal Hygiene and Training: Food-handlers must maintain personal cleanliness and personal behaviour. In case of handling naked product, food-handler must not be suffering from a disease or illness or with open wounds or burns as it may lead to contamination. Also food-handlers must be equipped with suitable aprons, gloves, headgear, shoe cover and so on. In case of packed pack using gloves and apron is not a must (but desirable).

Storage Requirements
Design & Facilities: Storage facility /warehouse must have FSSAI licence for storing bakery items and licence must be displayed at prominent location. The design and layout of warehouse must permit adequate maintenance and cleaning and do not provide harborage to pests. Facility/ warehouse must have facility to provide potable and non-potable water with adequate arrangements for drainage & waste disposal. Premises must have sufficient lighting (more than 500 Lux) and lighting fixtures are covered to protect food from contamination (especially, where unpacked food is stored). An adequate and separate storage facility should be in place for food products; chemicals & other hazardous substances; personal items and so on. Facility must be capable of achieving required temperature and humidity. Personnel hygiene facilities are available (Adequate number of hand washing facilities, toilets, change rooms, rest & refreshment room etc.).

Control on Operations: Stock must be kept on pallets (preferably plastic pallets) and must be kept away from the wall (minimum 18 inches gap is desirable) so that contamination can be avoided. Products must be handled with care at receiving picking and dispatch – materials must not be lying on floor or in an unorganised manner or allowed to accumulate. Facility is maintained neat and clean, free from mould growth and any unwanted materials as this increases the chance of contamination. With very less shelf life, one of the critical requirement for storing breads is maintaining FEFO (First in First Out) so stock receiving and delivery must be done in FEFO manner.

Maintenance and Sanitation: The premises must be kept clean and there are no seepage, cobwebs, dirt, dust and so on that can compromise food safety (record of cleaning should be maintained). Cleaning of storage equipment (pallets etc.), food premises is done as per defined cleaning schedule & cleaning programme. Cleaning programme must be defined in a manner so it avoids any kind of dust/dirt accumulation and pest related issues. Food premises and equipment (like forklifts etc.) maintained in an appropriate state of repair and condition (records must also be maintained). Pest control programme must be in place and only approved pest control chemicals must be in use for treating the pests. It is recommended that certified pest control agencies (like PCI, PCMW) should be partnered for pest control so that chemical contamination can be avoided. Pest control record and observation must be maintained. For rodent control, sufficient number of traps must be in place. Traps must be of glue pads type inside the facility and for outer premises chemical traps can be placed. Facility must be free from any kind of pest activity like larva, droppings and so on. Food waste and other refuse must be removed periodically from food storage areas to avoid accumulation.

Personal Hygiene and Training: Food-handlers have the necessary knowledge and skills & trained to handle food safely (record of training must be maintained). In case of handling naked product, food- handler must undergo annual medical examination & inoculation of food-handlers must be ensured against the enteric group of diseases as per recommendations (medical records must be maintained for each food-handler). Food-handler must not be suffering from a disease or illness or with open wounds or burns as it may lead to contamination also food-handlers must be equipped with suitable aprons, gloves, headgear, shoe cover and so on. In case of packed pack, using gloves and apron is not a must (but desirable). To ensure proper execution of the system, an internal audit programme must be in place and Food Safety Officer (FSO) may check the record of internal audit. Industry must have a robust process for handling customer complaints.

Above requirements cover all the mandatory practices need to be followed as per FSSAI. The regulator has developed inspection checklist for facilitating Food Safety Officers to efficiently inspect the FBOs. The inspection checklists are used to identify the level of compliance with each requirement that is set out in the regulation. These inspection checklists are based on revised Schedule 4 of Food Safety & Standards and available on FSSAI portal.

The Food Safety Officer will inspect the facility of the FBO according to the requirements as laid down in the inspection checklist and accordingly will mark the finding as compliance (C), non-compliance (NC), partial compliance (PC) & not applicable/not observed (NA).

Sub-sequentially awarding the marks as per the finding against the requirements, total marks are calculated & based on the final marks, grading of the FBOs is done. The grading has been divided into four levels i.e.,
    a.  Compliance  with A+ Grade (Exemplar)  –     90% & Above Score
    b. Compliance With A Grade  (Satisfactory)  –     80 to 89%
    c. Need Improvement with B Grade –         50 to 79%
    d. Non-Compliance and No Grade –         Less than 50%

Following above requirements we can kill the profit eaters and achieve the regulatory compliance during distribution and storage.

(The author is QiD and EMQM Specialist, Mars Wrigley Confectionery India)
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