Nestle is all about Food safety and Food security – Paul Bulcke

In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Paul Bulcke, Global Chairman of Nestle spoke about the latest happenings in his company and sector. He was speaking from the side-lines of World Food India 2017 currently underway in New Delhi.

We have invested in India quite heavily already in the past. Food safety and food security are two very important issues worldwide but specially for India. That is what my company is all about. We are very proud to be part of India, he said.

Maggi issue was a big blip in India and Nestle’s relationship but we have overcome that by working together and putting things on the table and having the same goal of food safety first, he added.

Below is the verbatim transcript of the interview. 

Q: How is Nestle looking at the PM’s outreach?

A: We are here already more than 100 years, we have invested quite heavily already in the past. Food safety and food security are two very important issues worldwide but especially for India. That is what my company is all about. So we are so proud to be part of this.

Q: You had mentioned in your speech about the concerns with food safety, you said that chapter was close. As far as Maggi – and because we heard you issuing a statement soon after that – that was a bit of a blip. Is that now over, are you bullish about India?

A: Yes, look, relationships always have these blips maybe and that was a big one. But it was linked to trust and what I meant by overcoming — trust is there again and trust is the most important ingredient of engaging with a country.

Q: How did you overcome that?

A: By working together and putting the things on the table and having the same goal of food safety first and we share that.

Q: As you make the plans for India going forward, five-seven years, what are the key regulatory bottlenecks that your team in India is telling you that India needs to overcome if India were to realise the potential that the PM was talking about?

A: It is a huge country, 1.3 billion people, many states, I think harmonising is one of these challenges that we want to be part of.

Q: How important is India to Nestle? How much time does Nestle India take in your monthly meetings?

A: I don’t take timelines like these. What I want to make sure is that we have the right people managing our activities here in the country and that is what we have.

Q: But the message you are giving me is that you are gung-ho, you are bullish about India going forward?

A: I am here.


World Food India attracts Rs.68000 Cr investments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with (from left) Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with (from left) Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the World Food India 2017 inaugural session in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI
World Food India, spread across India Gate and Vigyan Bhawan, turning Lutyens’ Delhi into a traffic nightmare, started Friday morning with Prime Minister inviting investors to tap the “unlimited opportunities’’ in India’s  Soon after, top executives of global food and retail majors from to Coca-Cola and Amazon to Metro, along with domestic biggies such as and Patanjali, lined up to ink investment MoUs, totalling Rs 68,000 crore over multiple years.  

The MoUs, 13 of them, formalised the investments promised earlier by these companies. Others such as Nestle offered to help the government in food safety, while making a reference to the Maggi ban debacle in India two years ago.    
In investments, led the pack with a commitment worth Rs 13,340 crore, followed by rival Coca-Cola (Rs 11,000 crore). had earlier announced its plan to invest Rs 35,000 crore in India and the latest commitment is part of the total pie. Coca-Cola had in July announced an investment of Rs 11,000 crore, along with its partners, to boost its local agri ecosystem. Friday’s commitment is a reiteration of the same.

The Rs 10,000-crore investment that CEO Sanjiv Puri committed on Friday will be allocated towards setting up 20 integrated consumer goods manufacturing & logistics facilities in 12 states across India.

FMCG major too has promised to invest Rs 10,000 crore investment in its upcoming food parks, managing director Acharya Bal Krishna said.

 The UAE-based Sharaf Group signed an MoU for its committed Rs 5,000-crore investment to augment farm produce, collection, processing and export.

Multinational retail firms Amazon and Metro were next on the list with commitments worth Rs 3,450 crore and Rs 1,690 crore in retail and wholesale trade, respectively. Companies like Janani Foods, Cargill, Britannia, Hains Celestial, CP Wholesale and RP Sanjeev Goenka Group too have expressed interest to invest more than Rs 1,000 crore each.

Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who spearheaded the initiative of World Food India, on the lines of international events, said, “These investments will help us realise the goal of doubling farmers’ income as well as generating massive employment in the food processing sector.”

Earlier in the day, the PM emphasised the need for private investments in the area to transform India into a global food-processing hub. “Come, invest in India, the place with unlimited opportunities to deliver food — from farm to the fork”. He drew multinationals’ attention to the country’s “delightful cuisine’’. Christopher Columbus was attracted to Indian spices and reached America in search of those, the PM said. ‘’Food processing is a way of life in India,’’ the PM added while referring to papads, chatnis, and murabbas as exciting creations of India. 

Among other food majors, Nestle’s global chairman Paul Bulcke said, “We had some challenging times not so long ago, when our heritage of food safety was questioned. But we have overcome these. No individual entity has answers to all food-related problems but we have to overcome them together. Food safety is non-negotiable for us and we can definitely offer our expertise.”

Amanda Sourry, president of foods, Unilever, said, “With a population of 1.3 billion, a burgeoning middle class, a youth segment larger than the entire population of the United States  and the increasing rate of urbanisation, the opportunity of providing nutritious, safe and tasty food to more than one billion people must be addressed.”

The three-day event is targeting to turn the country into a hub of processed food. According to estimates from ministry of food processing industries, demand for food will increase by 50 per cent and the world population will swell by a fifth by 2040.


9 reasons why Railway food is so terrible and 3 ways to fix it

9 Reasons why Railway Food is so Terrible and 3 Ways to Fix it

Very few of us “normal” citizens of India have eaten there, but reports from the Delhi circle, especially those from the exalted media lot with access, indicate that the food at the Parliament Canteen is supposed to be excellent, more so as the catering is done by the Indian Railways. This is one end of the spectrum.
Most of us “normal” citizens of India who travel by the same Indian Railways, however, tend to find the Railway food a rather sad burden that has to be tolerated, especially on trains where it is included in the fare. (Only in a few specific trains is the food is reasonable and sometimes good. The examples are Mandovi Express (Mumbai – Madgaon), Deccan Queen (Mumbai – Pune) and Brindavan Express (Chennai – Bengaluru). This is the other end.)
In the middle, somewhere lies the reality of railways food, leaning somewhere between the rancid and the tolerable.
Food poisoning, much in the news lately because of the recent Tejas Express episode, may well be rare. But un-hygienically prepared and served food on trains is the rule rather than the exception, even more so because the lowest bid sub-contractor system ensures that the people actually at the last point of delivery are more often than not untrained, underpaid and ill-motivated.
A similar situation exists on platforms and stations, where again the fairly obsolete processes involved in tendering for food outlets, and the huge corruption that the vendors, stall-operators and restaurants face from the vast variety of authorities involved, now also in the name of security, mean that the eventual loser is the customer. 
So what brought about this situation, given that till a few decades ago, railway food was considered safe, freshly cooked, and reasonably priced too?
1) Plain and simple, corruption top to bottom gnawed away at every point in the supply chain, which then like a termite infested pillar, simply collapsed under its own weight. From palming off contracts to favourites and disabling the Indian Railway’s own catering arm, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC), to meddling with local menus in the name of standardisation, everything went under.
2) Hygiene and sanitation in pantry cars went spiralling downwards, again, for multiple reasons. Lack of adherence by Indian Railways to basic guidelines from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the major flaw in the system here. They simply do not recognise any form of regulatory compliance over their catering services, on board or on platforms and anywhere on Indian Railways property.
3) A total mess was made of red and green dot regulations, resulting in complete mix-up of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, which in turn caused huge problems because refrigeration on- board especially long-distance trains was minimal if at all. A simple solution that food be totally vegetarian, as implemented in trains in some parts of the country, was not implemented on an all-India basis.
4) Take egg dishes, for example. On some routes, the Indian Railways have moved towards a simple solution, boiled egg in shell. On other routes, however, they still insist on serving cooked egg dishes at hugely enhanced rates, and cooked in conditions, which are best left undescribed, with ample room for a fiddle in quantities.
5) In the name of standardisation of menus on the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto class trains, where food is part of the ticket price, we get a menu, which is no longer representative of anything other than a lack of imagination and bits and pieces of junk food. In addition, some elements, like single-serve corn flakes served with open milk, are invitations to disaster considering the truth about milk in our hinterlands.
6) With tighter seating and more berths inside railway coaches, the sheer number of passengers who need to be served especially when reservation against cancellation (RAC) is also taken into consideration, easily rises to 120% of the booked capacity of a train. The storage, serving and then removal of food trays in such situations becomes a disaster; toilets have been known to be used for this.
7) The preference and insistence on the part of Indian Railways to continue to serve watery curries, which spill all over the place is another reason for catering mishaps. A drastic change towards dry options, or thicker gravy items if they must be served, is essential. Daals, lentils, that essential component of Indian food, are never as watery as served on our trains. Naturally, it will flow, all over the place and mess things up even more.
8) If you are unfortunate enough to have the saloon coach of a free-riding ‘Higher Officer’ or any other elected or selected representative hooked on to your train, then the overall food quality for the rest of the paying passengers will come crashing down. This is because the budget for the meals and snacks and more served to the free loaders and their entourages come from your share of the raw materials and prepared food.
9) As is often said, ‘in the good old days’, unconsumed food on the Indian Railways (if still fit for consumption) was despatched post-haste to orphanages or other charity institutions. This practice, to the best of my knowledge, was discontinued after the Emergency and has never been restored. Now the unconsumed food goes towards either making the “janata thaali box” or is sold further.
Over the last few decades, food on the roads in India, especially South and West India, has certainly improved. Quality at reasonable prices, mostly basic vegetarian, clean toilets, secure parking, polite and trained staff, all this and more, is more the rule than the exception. Add to that the vast number of franchised fast food restaurants, stand-alone as well as chains, and you have a recipe for safe victuals as an integral part of travel. 
By contrast, the Indian Railways, despite a huge move towards modernisation and avowed safety in kitchens after a few spectacular fire incidents in the last few years, has not really kept up with being customer centric in its approach. Being a monopoly, the “take it or leave it” attitude with food on our trains goes right up to the top and then comes crashing back again to the customer facing staff.
So what are possible solution?
1) Encourage passengers to bring their own food especially quick heat and eat. Frankly, if the Indian Railways do it like in Chinese trains, where they provide access to a hot water boiler for tea, coffee and noodles, a large percentage of the travelling public will be satisfied.
2) Multiple vendors should be encouraged to provide food on trains, either by app-based order system to supply food at scheduled halts or by small independent vendors selling officially, what they can carry on their persons – like the so-called “illegal” vendors do anyways. This should be purely quality of food and local delicacies based, and not as a profit unit for the Indian Railways.
3) A typical pantry car is deadweight being towed overnight. The same kitchen or pantry car can be a static base kitchen at a railway station, and be used for supplying food for trains passing through with scheduled stops there – and also to supply healthy food for people waiting on platforms.
Most of all, food will improve if Indian Railways gets back into the business of safe transportation from A to B, instead of trying to be everything for everybody, and then making additional money out of it too.
Done properly, local and regional food can do wonders on railway trains, as it used to. Sadly, we have come to a point now where, for example, even the vadas at Karjat and Lonavala are no longer a shade of what they used to be.

Pepsico India to counter malicious campaign on popular snack food

Pepsico India Holdings Private Ltd is taking measures to assure consumers about the safety of Kurkure, in the wake of malicious rumours that the popular snack food contains plastic, said a senior company official.
From one variant in 1999, Kurkure has 40 variants and is also exported to several countries.
“I don’t know on what grounds the rumour is spread that Kurkure contains plastic. Normally big brands attract malicious rumours,” Marketing Director – Indian Snacks, Vani Gupta, told IANS on Saturday.
“We don’t see such malicious campaign in other parts of India. Only in Tamil Nadu we see such malicious campaigns,” Gupta said.
Some months back the associations of traders in Tamil Nadu had announced a ban on selling Pepsi and Coca Cola brands.
Gupta said the company is taking countermeasures in assuring the safety of Kurkure to mothers.
According to her, it is better to assure the consumers about the safety rather than taking legal recourse against the rumour mongers.
One of the steps is redesigning of the package with the words ‘Made with Dal, Corn and Rice’ printed on it.
“In case of chips we know what it is made of. But it is not so with Kurkure. Hence we decided to adopt this strategy,” Gupta said.
On Saturday, Pepsico Holdings held an event here where bloggers – mostly young women – were told about Kurkure and the production process.
With the assistance of an award winning chef, the participants also whipped up some dishes made with several variants of Kurkure.
Gupta said: “Any food that is taken in moderate quantity is good. The problem crops up when one overdoes something.”
Queried about the usage of palmolein oil in the making of the product instead of other oils like rice bran oil, Gupta said: “The oil suits well with the product. The usage of palmolein oil is not driven by costs.”
“Many of our competitors play with the ingredient quantities when the prices fluctuate,” she added.
“Even at home it is advisable to change the oil brands once in two months so as to derive the benefits offered by them. In the case of Kurkure the oil quantity used may not be much. Only children above the age of five should be given salty snacks. All food stuffs should be consumed in moderate quantities,” T. Shanthi Kaavery, a consulting dietician, told IANS.
From one variant in 1999, Kurkure has 40 variants and is also exported to several countries.
“Kurkure is made in our plants in Canada and Bangladesh. The product is exported to Gulf countries.”
She said the organised Indian snack food market is around Rs 17,000 crore and is logging double digit growth.
Gupta said the company offers various regional flavours under Kurkure brand.

How FBOs can ensure food safety of dry fruits, nuts and seeds

Studies have indicated that consumer awareness about the health benefits of dried fruits has led to an increase in demand of dried fruits, nuts and seeds.  Not only is there a growing demand of standalone food, but food manufacturers are enhancing the appeal of their premium food products by using dried fruits as ingredients. FBOs in the dried food sector have the responsibility to ensure that they have taken the right steps in their dried food processing plants to ensure that they provide healthy and wholesome dried fruits to consumers.


Under the food category system that has been defined in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2016  ‘Dried fruit, nuts and seeds’ come under the category of processed foods. The FSSAI has defined dried fruits, nuts and seeds as products from which water is removed to prevent microbial growth which includes dried fruit leathers (fruit rolls) prepared by drying fruit purees. Such as cashew nut, almond, raisins, dried apple slices, figs, copra (dried coconut whole or cut), dried shredded or flaked coconut, prunes, dehydrated fruits etc.

In the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 dried fruits are described as “products obtained by drying sound, clean fruits and nuts of proper maturity. The product may be with or without stalks, shelled or unshelled, pitted or unpitted or pressed into blocks”.  FBOs must ensure that dried fruits and nuts are

  • free from mould, living / dead insects, insect fragments and rodent contamination
  • free from extraneous matter like stalks, pieces of shells, pits, fibre, peel
  • have uniform in colour, pleasant taste and flavour characteristic of the fruit/ nut
  • free from off flavour, mustiness, rancidity and evidence of fermentation
  • free from added colouring
  • Stored appropriately to prevent contamination and growth of toxic microorganisms
  • Free from blemished, discoloured and damaged nuts (caused by sunburn, scars, mechanical injury discolouration and by insects) must to be removed to prevent contamination

The product shall conform to the following requirements:—

(i) Extraneous Vegetable matter (m/m)     –         Not more than 1.0 percent

(ii) Damaged/ Discoloured units (m/m)    –         Not more than 2.0 percent

(iii) Acidity of extracted fat expressed

as oleic Acid                                              –        Not more than 1.25 percent

Why FBOs need to ensure hygienic practices

Contamination can occur at any stage during handling, processing, storage and distribution so it is imperative for FBOs to follow good hygiene practices in accordance with Schedule 4 of the FSS Act, 2006. The very fact that FBOs are operating as FSSAI licensed processors serves as an insurance of their intent to follow all FSSAI guidelines in running their dried food business.  However, good hygiene practices entail FBOs ensure

  • Raw fruits used for preparing dried fruits are free form chemicals, pesticides and enteric pathogens
  • Hygiene and sanitation practices are maintained throughout the process
  • Only potable water must be used during processing to prevent microbial contamination.
  • Any desiccation during processing must be carried out with proper equipment which is sanitised after use
  • Maintain specified thermal conditions so fruit is dehydrated correctly to maintain shelf life

Packaging and Labelling requirements to keep in mind

Dried fruits are prone to contamination if they come in contact with moisture so proper packaging protocols need to be followed to ensure food safety.

  1. The use of food grade packaging is important as dried fruits come in direct contact with the packaging. Packaging must be safe and not cause chemical contamination. They must be able to keep moisture out of the packaging.
  2. FBOs also need to keep in mind that certain dried fruits and nuts especially peanuts can cause allergic reactions. Therefore, it is important to mention all the contents in a packet that contains mixed dried fruit.

Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 have defined what must be displayed on labels

  • Name of the product
  • Nature of the foods contents
  • Mention any additives or preservatives used
  • The nutritional value of the food content
  • The “use-by date” or “recommended last consumption date” or “expiry date”
  • The FSSAI logo and licence number
  • The price of the food product

Safety limits of insecticides in dry fruits and nuts

Raw fruits and nuts are cultivated for human consumption and so it is possible that they are subject to treatment by insecticides. Dried foods must be regularly tested for chemical and microbial contamination in an NABL certified laboratory. The FSSAI has fixed the upper tolerance limit of a number of insecticides with relevance to dry fruits and nuts.

Upper limits for insecticides in dry fruits and nuts 

Name of Insecticide Food item Tolerance limit (mg/kg, ppm)
Inorganic bromide (expressed as total bromide dry fruit 30.0
Malathion Dry fruit 8.0
Chlorobenzilate Dry fruit almonds walnuts 0.2 (shell free basis)
Ethion Dry fruit 0.1 (shell free basis)
Carbendazim Dry fruit 0.10
Benomyl Dry fruit 0.10

The FSSAI has already notified that the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2016 is now operationalized. The FSSAI has also defined the food additives that can be used in dried fruits.

Use of Food Additives in Dried Food, Nuts and Seeds

Food categoryName Food additive INS No. RecommendedMaximum level   Note
Dried fruits, nutsand seeds        
  ASCORBYL ESTERS   80 mg/kg 10
  BENZOATES   800 mg/kg 13


    265 mg/kg 21
  Diacetyltartaric and fatty acid esters of glycerol 472e 10,000 mg/kg  
  Lauric arginate ethyl ester 243 200 mg/kg  
  Mineral oil, highViscosity 905d 5,000 mg/kg  
  Mineral oil, mediumviscosity, class I 905e 5,000 mg/kg  
  Calcium phosphate 341(i) 20,000 mg/kg  
  Magnesium phosphate 341(ii) 20,000 mg/kg  
  SORBATES   500 mg/kg 42
  SULFITES   1,000 mg/kg 44,135,218
  Tartaric acid, L (+) 334 GMP  

The dry fruits has been in use dates back to 4,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia which is now modern-day Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Syria and Turkey. From there the technique of drying fruit for use on long voyages and travels spread to the rest of the world. The very fact that dried fruits have an appealing taste, are highly nutritious and can be stored for a long time is the reason for their commercial production. The dried fruit market in India is not a new one but it is only recently that the dried fruit, nuts and seed industry has been growing swiftly. According to market reports the Indian dried fruit industry is likely to grow to Rs.30, 000 crore by 2020. Therefore the dried food importers, processors and marketers must be well prepared to handle the anticipated growth.

Food Safety requirements while handling high risk foods like cut fruits, fresh salads, and confectionery products

Confectionery Products
Confectionery Products

High risk foods are those that are ready to eat products which should be stored under recommended temperatures and have to be consumed within a limited time frame. High risk foods become easy targets for microbial contamination as bacteria can grow quickly in these food products. Any contamination of food products is a health risk for consumers and Food Business Operators must be over cautious in guarding against contamination in foods that are eaten raw like salads and fruit.

Confectionery items also come under the category of high risk foods as they can deteriorate quickly, even if they are kept under refrigeration particularly if milk products and cream have been used. Uncooked food like fruit and salads, juices and cold beverages need to be prepared with utmost care as bacteria can multiply very quickly in them.

Personal hygiene is very important when handling such foods to prevent cross contamination. Keeping the utensils clean and sterilized is equally important so no pathogens can grow in confectionery products when stored. All food business operators should ensure that the following precautions are  kept in mind so that the high risk foods they serve are totally free of microbial infestations.

Cut fruits/salads, fresh juices and beverages

FBOs must make sure that

  • Fresh fruits, juices and vegetables to be eaten as salads or in cold platters are consumed immediately on being cut.
  • Cut, raw vegetables and fruits are stored only under refrigeration at or below 4°C and that too for short time durations if they need to be stored before consumption.
  • Storage utensils are sanitized and foods are covered when stored
  • Only potable water is used to prepare beverages
  • Ice required for beverages is also made only from potable water.
  • Containers used for keeping ice for consumption should be separate from containers used for food and beverages

Confectionery Products

  • Prepared confectionery products must be stored only in airtight containers.
  • If they are to be displayed then they must be inside covered and hygienic display cases.
  • Cream is kept covered and under refrigeration.
  • Finished products are properly refrigerated and that labels have an expiry date.
  • Properly cooled before they are wrapped and packaged as per regulations.
  • Only permitted food additives, colours, preservatives and flavouring agents are used.
  • Unwrapped confectionery items are used well within time as they have a short shelf life.

Proper attention should be given to cooking, preparing and storing high risk foods to keep them safe for consumption.

Viviana Mall – First mall to organise Food Safety Training and Certification as per FSSAI guidelines

Viviana Mall, leading destination mall in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region is the first mall to organize Food Safety Training & Certification (FOSTAC) has laid down by FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India).
The FOSTAC training program will slowly and steadily reach across all food operating businesses in order to make all operators FSSAI compliance
Joint Commissioner (FOOD) Konkan Division, FDA – Thane, Suresh Deshmukh was present during the inauguration along with Assistant Commissioner, (Food), FDA – Thane, Krishna Dabhade, who was one of the trainer training the participants from restaurants and food outlets (29 participants in all).
Assistant Commissioner, (Food), FDA – Thane, Krishna Dabhade, who himself conducted training for Food Business Operators (FBO’s) of the mall said, “The training will help food handlers to gain advanced expertise and adhere to the required guidelines in order to provide clean, hygienic, safe food to the customers. We have launched our mascot Master Sehat and Ms. Sehat as approved by FSSAI of healthy individuals. Through the mascot we aim to reach more than 20 lakh plus food operators and customers in a span of a year.”
In order to align with the future guidelines or policies by FSSAI’s, Viviana Mall organized this training for the food establishments present inside the mall. FOSTAC program developed by FSSAI will help in maintaining hygiene and food safety implementation at food establishments. The FSSAI is looking to introduce a mandatory requirement of having at least one trained and certified Food Safety Supervisor in each Food Service Establishment very soon in near future. Food safety supervisor will be responsible in preparing, processing and serving safe and hygiene food that is being served at that particular food business operator. 
Speaking at the event, Joint Commissioner (FOOD), Konkan division FDA – Thane, Suresh Deshmukh said, “FDA’s main objective is to provide clean, safe and hygienic food and we are glad that Viviana Mall, which witnesses 25, 000 to 30, 000 footfalls every day has become a part of the initiative. To spread awareness about clean and hygienic safe food, we are taking certain steps and we are thankful to Viviana Mall to provide us a platform to kick start our initiative as landmark for rest of the malls in Maharashtra State. Proper certification from FDA would be made mandatory for obtaining license for a food business in the next five – six months.”
Viviana Mall invited all the restaurants and food outlets present inside the mall to be a part of the FOSTAC training program.
CEO, Viviana Mall, Sunil Shroff said, “The mall strives to provide better quality and hygienic food to its patrons and employees in the mall. We aim to proactively make our food establishments FSSAI compliant even before the certification becomes mandatory. Even if one supervisor in a food chain is FSSAI certified, the skills can be passed to other employees too. This shall help food businesses to gain more trust from customers and deepen the brand connect.”
The FOSTAC training program will slowly and steadily reach across all food operating businesses in order to make all operators FSSAI compliance. After assessment participants will be certified as FSS (Food Safety Supervisor) which is valid for 2 years.