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FOOD SAFETY

Equinox Labs’ Bhadri among 100 most influential leaders in healthcare
Saturday, 25 February, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs, is among the 100 most influential healthcare leaders.

A serial entrepreneur by nature, he is noted for his calm demeanour and a mind that is bustling with ideas and concepts.

Bhadri works in close co-ordination with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the areas of food and environment safety.

The prestigious honour conferred upon him will help boost the morale of many other illustrious leaders who work in this domain for the betterment of food, water, air and the environment.

Equinox Labs
Equinox Labs is a known name in the field of food safety (which can be an extremely generic term). The company has, over the last decade, carved a niche for itself, even in the farthest corner of this realm.

It is one of the fastest-growing testing laboratories in the country, and a reputed name among food business operators (FBOs), multi-national corporations (MNCs), the retail industry and consumers.

Last year, the company was notified by FSSAI, conducted a successful food start-up-oriented Young Food Entrepreneurs’ Conference and launched a pan-India campaign titled Xmas Bucket Challenge for underprivileged children.

Equinox Labs has gestated on the strong groundwork of food, water, air and environment testing. It has a great deal of experience in both biological and chemical tests and profound knowledge of organoleptic evaluation.

The lab is accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) ISO 9001:2015-certified.

That means the tests conducted and reports generated are in accord with the international standards. The credibility of these reports is recognised in more than 169 countries, with the assurance of intact quality.

The organisation, which has trained over 12,000 people on topics like food safety and compliance, strives to develop new food safety campaigns and programmes.

Equinox has advised more than 800 companies on their food safety compliance, EHS policies, and critical infrastructure maintenance.

Its services have positively impacted around 300 million lives and have more than 10,000 clients to their credit.
 
Bhadri vehemently supports freedom at the workplace, and believes it is a way to unleash the plethora of ideas, employees keep hidden.

India’s foothold on food safety weak
Bhadri has always been vocal on food safety imperilment. The Maggi noodle controversy, which created quite a pandemonium in the Indian food industry about two years ago, was scrutinised by the world media.

He implied that the incident would set forth a chain of incidents that are bound to make this country’s food safety stronger.

Bhadri was positive that a good change in the food business was just around the corner.

He said, “All the companies operating at that (internationally-reckoned) level or even smaller, are stepping up their food safety game, because they know that they are going to be next in terms of scrutiny.”

The noodle controversy lasted for almost a year, with some pivotal changes at the managerial levels, following which the collaborated efforts of the Central food safety upholders (FSSAI and FDA) and the auxiliary ones (governmental and private testing laboratories) helped stabilise the brand and relaunch.

Not just Nestle, but a plethora of other food companies also restructured their testing programmes and delved into good documentation practices.

In another case, food imported was tested for its efficacy and norms as per those stated by FSSAI.

Bhadri cited an example which singled out the situation. “If 10,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) are being imported, and in another case, one lakh SKUs are being imported, the number of samples drawn for testing should be different, which is not happening,” he added.

Sadly, the country lacks a strong foothold on food safety. Controversies erupting are deemed regular, and that is depreciating the Indian standards on a global level.

Recently, bread loaves were found to contain a high amount of carcinogens, potassium iodide/bromide. Many known baking companies, pizza outlets and retailers using bread for their food product preparation, were directly under the spotlight.

Young Food Entrepreneurs’ Conference 2016
The Young Food Entrepreneurs’ Conference was a conclave organised to encourage budding food start-ups to take the plunge into this realm.

Eminent personalities of the food fraternity came together and imparted knowledge on various sections which build up this prestigious industry, which constitutes a major chunk of India’s gross domestic product (GDP).

MasterChef Pankaj Bhadouria, Zomato’s Rohant Shyam, Nilon’s Dipak Sanghvi and Raw Pressery’s Shuja Sheikh were present.

Ashwin Bhadri spoke on the seven qualities of successful food entrepreneurs (which include passion, vision, networking, testing different solutions, innovation and caring for those even remotely associated with your business).

Company’s mission
Equinox Labs’ 2016 priorities have now metamorphosed into Equinox Vision - Purpose, Core Values and Mission.

The company has set its immediate mission to be an innovation-driven, award-winning company and conduct 2,00,000 lakh tests a month by 2020.

It has focused specifically on innovation, because innovation is certainly the fuel to successful business.

Equinox’s testing sector holds a promising future, with the team working towards enabling a genetically-modifed organism (GMO) analysis facility in the house.

The next couple of years will be exciting to watch out for, as the company will make a paradigm shift in food and environment safety.
 
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