Food testing in India got a boost when the government-owned Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) has been given a 500,000US$ grant by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries for setting up a new state-of-the-art food laboratory.
The grant has been given under the ministry's goal of further strengthening the food-testing scenario in India, which has come under criticism from experts of being too lax and slow. After examining official laboratory procedures in India, EU inspectors found the analytical reports issued by the two accredited facilities did not follow EC requirements.
CIPHET was established in 1989 as a nodal institute to undertake lead researches in the area of the post-harvest engineering and technology appropriate to agricultural production catchment and agro-industries.
The laboratory will offer services to the farmers, small-scale entrepreneurs and food industries in the northern part of India. Similar laboratories, some which have been set up and some that will be set up in the near future, will undertake food testing in other parts of the country.
The food testing discipline in India suffers from some obvious challenges that the government is working to overcome. These include the question of talent and also clearances for imported equipment. India is a vast country with a very large and spread out food processing industry. The time frames for food testing have always been lagging and only more food labs can solve this problem.