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Indian dairy products have to compete not only globally but with the imported products in the domestic market as well. The domestic dairy industry needs to be competitive in, besides price, product safety and quality. Producing safe food is now not a matter of choice, it is a necessity. It is therefore imperative that India continues strengthening its national food safety control systems and programmes, since it is not one time job, it’s a continuing process. The dairy industry, too, needs to make more concerted efforts to achieve the international food safety and quality standards. In fact safe and quality product is plain and simply ‘Good Management’. It is amazing how close to perfection you can get, if you are willing to try.
All the dairy plants in the country are expected to observe GMP at all times. However, there is much variation in the observance of this requirement. The dairy plant should adopt highest standards at the designing stage itself for matters relating to quality. Also, quality is produced on the production floor and not in the quality assurance (QA) laboratory. Thus, QA staff should spend much of their time on the production floor to see and help the production staff observe GMP and SOPs. The dairy must have an established, clear QC system of sampling, testing, release of the product, etc. The QC workforce should own this system.
The Export Inspection Council of India (EIC) is the official export certification body for milk products exports from India. EIC specifies the quality control mechanism to be followed by processing establishments and ensures compliance to the laid down requirements through well-defined monitoring and surveillance programme. It is important that the exporters of dairy products and the EIC should work hand-in-hand to understand the frequently changing needs on food safety of milk products exported to ensure compliance.
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a management tool that provides a structured and scientific approach to the control of identified hazards. HACCP has international recognition as an effective means of controlling food safety hazards and is endorsed as such by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Codex Alimentarius Commission.