Processed Fruits & Vegetable Testing

We all know that fruits and vegetables are powerhouse of essential vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, thiamine, niacin, pyridoxine, folic acid, and dietary fiber but do you know that it can be contaminated with harmful substances pre-harvest by animals, insects, water, soil, dirty equipment, and poor human handling. 

Further they can be contaminated by unclean water for washing, packing materials, process equipment, and dirty transportation vehicles. Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has set the standards for fruits and vegetables that all food businesses must comply with if food safety and quality are to be maintained. However, there is no way to detect harmful substances or find out if fruits and vegetables are within standards unless they are tested in a food laboratory. 

The mindful eating food choices and market trends shows that consumers are increasingly driven towards eating fresh vegetables and fruits. Besides there is an upsurge of processed food and vegetables.

One of the important criteria for evaluating the quality of fruits and vegetables is their appearance like maturity, colour, shape, aroma, flavour as well as texture. Another important indicator of quality is the absence of harmful substances. Wicker Basket With Assorted Organic Vegetables And Fruits Isola

While the FSSAI is responsible for making the food laws and seeing they are enforced, it is also the responsibility of food producers, distributors, handlers and vendors to ensure compliance of these food laws. Most food processors who process fruits and vegetables follow best practices, comply with regulations and also get the fruits and vegetables tested.

Food Safety from chemicals

Fruits and vegetables can get contaminated any time in the food chain from farm to fork, especially chemical contamination. Water pollution, heavy metals in the environment, excessive use of pesticides, and chemical fertilizers can cause chemical contamination.

The main forms of adulteration in fruits and vegetables is addition of non-permitted synthetic colours to alter the appearance, so they look more attractive. The use of non-permitted chemicals to increase shelf life is also rampant.

In vegetables, copper sulphate and colours like malachite green is frequently used on green chili, green peas, bitter gourd, lady finger and pointed gourd to show them green and fresh. Similarly, watermelons can be adulterated with cheap but non-permitted colours like methanol yellow, lead chromate and Sudan red. Saccharine mixture is known to be injected into fruits especially melons and watermelons to make them extra sweet.

As fruits and vegetables have to be transported over great distances, especially as part of global trade, the surfaces of certain fresh fruit and even vegetables are coated with glazes or waxes or are treated with other food additives that help to preserve the freshness and quality of the produce.

Coating or waxing reduces deterioration in the freshness and so enhances the cosmetic appearance of fruits. FSSAI permits the use of food grade waxes obtained from natural sources like carnauba wax. However, fruits and vegetables that contain petroleum-based waxes can contain solvent residues that can be harmful. Food testing can determine the kind of wax that has been used on fruits and vegetables.

Food safety from microbiological contamination 

There are several factors that cause microbiological contamination in fruits and vegetables. Since, food is biological in nature, therefore, it can easily support the growth of pathogens like viruses and bacteria. Pathogens species like Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Listeria, Vibrio, Bacillus, and E. coli, are harmful pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses.

Since several fruits and some vegetables are eaten raw food safety needs to be assured. While the fruits and vegetables are being harvested contamination can occur from workers who can transfer pathogens from improper or unsafe handling. 

Reusable and unclean storage crates can cause microbiological contamination. Post-harvest, any fruits and vegetables that have a cut are prone to growth of pathogens. Since cut surfaces release liquids that are nutrient rich, pathogens become attached and microbes like bacteria, yeast and fungi that cause spoilage too. Freshcut fruits and vegetables can also harbor pathogenic bacteria capable of causing human infections, such as Listeria, Salmonella spp., and E-coli.

Another factor that can cause microbiological contamination in fruits and vegetables is poor personal hygiene practices of food handlers and food preparers that can prove to be a health risk. Simple activities such as thorough hand washing and adequate washing facilities to wash the fruits and vegetables can prevent many foodborne illnesses. When there is the need for large scale cooking as in restaurants, food catering services or even langars, bhogs and hostels food is handled by many individuals. 

Improper handling of fruits and vegetables can lead to accidental contamination of food during such large-scale production. Food handlers can cause cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods and also if high risk foods like salads or fresh fruit desserts are not stored in the right temperature or prepared too much in advance.

Consumer Awareness

While having a diet which has plenty of fruits and vegetables is beneficial for health but at the same time consumers must be aware that unless handled safely fruits and vegetables can lead to health risks too. When fruits and vegetables are consumed raw, pathogens must be reduced by adequate washing, proper storage, and by avoiding crosscontamination.

It is therefore important to select them properly and prepare them safely. So, if you enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables ensure you are taking these steps to avoid any health issues.

Processed fruits and vegetable testing in our labs

Our labs are well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. Our laboratories are located in New Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka. Contact us for fruits and vegetables testing in our labs to ensure safety and quality for your consumers, authenticity of your business and compliance to regulatory authorities.  

 

 

Material Test

 

 

Tests Performe

 

Test Method

 

Processed fruit & vegetable

pH of Cut out Syrup

IS:2860-1964

 

Head space

IS:2860-1964

 

Acidity

IS:2860-1964

 

Specific gravity

IS:2860-1964

 

Sodium chloride

IS:2860-1964

 

Total ash

IS:13846-1993

 

Acid insoluble ash

IS:13846-1993

 

Ca, Pb, Cu, Zn, Sn,

IS: 2860-1964

Saffron

Moisture

IS:5453-1996

 

Volatile matter

IS:5453-1996

 

Total ash

IS:5453-1996

 

Acid insoluble ash

IS:5453-1996

 

Solubility in cold water

IS:5453-1996

 

Bitterness

IS:1797-1985

 

Coloring strength

IS:5453-1996

 

Total nitrogen

IS: 5194-1996

 

Crude fibre

IS:5194-1969

 

Coloring matter

IS:1797-1985

Jams, Jellies

Arsenic (as As)

IS: 2860 –1964 /IS: 5861-1993

and Marmalades

Lead (as Pb)

IS: 2860 –1964 /IS: 5861-1993

(IS: 5861-1993)

Copper (as Cu)

IS: 2860 –1964 /IS: 5861-1993

 

Zinc (as Zn)

IS: 2860 –1964 /IS: 5861-1993

 

Tin (as Sn)

IS: 2860 –1964 /IS: 5861-1993

 

Total Soluble Solids

IS: 5861:1993

 

Minimum Fill

IS: 5861:1993

 

Colour

IS: 5861:1993

Dyes in Spices & Condiments

Sudan Dyes

 

 

Sudan Dye-1

ASTA/ AOAC

 

Sudan Dye-II

ASTA/AOAC

 

Sudan Dye-III

ASTA/AOAC

 

Sudan Dye-IV

ASTA/AOAC

 

Pectin

IS: 5861:1993

 

Preservatives (as SO2)

IS: 4624: 1968 (Appendix B)

 

Preservatives (as Benzoic Acid)

IS: 12014 (pt-1): 1986

 

Acidity

IS: 5861:1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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