Saturday, 20 January 2007

Codex on Pappadam: What's the size of your papad?


January 20, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 19: Any traditional Indian meal is incomplete without the crispy papads. And as the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants, controlled jointly by the FAO and the WHO, decides to include papads on its food items list, the Indian government sets international standards for this tasty kitchen product.
Papads, generally prepared from soaked rice flour or black gram, mixed with salt and spices, should be manufactured and dried under hygienic conditions.
"Papads shall be in the form of thin circular discs having diameter ranging from 5 cm to 25 cm. The thickness shall be 0.3 mm to 1.2 mm for papads while for sago papads it shall be between 1.0 mm and 1.5 mm," according to the standards prescribed by the Central government.
Any food item that meets Codex standards will be accepted by member countries around the world. If Indian papad manufacturers meet the new government standards, they can compete in the international market without any hassles.
The new Indian Codex standards for papads also specify that papads shall be of "pleasant taste and smell, and shall be free from rancid or bitter taste and shall not crumble".
Papads shall also be free from broken or frayed edges, excessive number of holes, dirt or foreign matters, insect infestation or fungal growth. On frying, papad shall be brittle (break easily) and crispy to bite. They shall not give leathery, gritty, sticky or soggy mouth feel.
Apart from papads, several traditional food products like lassi, khoa, tamarind concentrate and powder, fruit bars, picked fruits and pickled vegetables, chilli paste, paneer and bhujiya.
The Indian Codex standard for lassi is that it should be free from added foreign matter including starch except sugar and synthetic sweetener. The fat obtained shall conform to milk fat and pesticide residue on fat basis shall conform to codex limit for milk on fat basis.
As far as khoa is concerned, the milk fat in it should be not less than 30 per cent on dry weight basis and it should be free from added starch and added sugar and there should be no colouring matter or pesticide residues below the limit under codex for milk on fat basis.
When it comes to doodh peda, the Codex guidelines specify that the total solids should be 65 per cent at the minimum level and the fat content on dry basis should be a minimum of 30 per cent. Peda should be free from pathogens and added colour.
If Gulab Jamun has to meet the international standards it should be prepared from khoa, skimmed milk powder, milk powder, ghee, cream, butter or other milk solids. It may, however, contain maida, citric acid and baking powder but should be free from dirt, insects and mould growth. The gulab jamun should be uniform in colour, shape and shall have good flavour and appropriate texture.
Rasagulla should not contain any added starch and fat obtained from the product shall conform to milk fat. It may contain preservative permitted under codex for dairy products but shall be free from added colour.
Tamarind concentrate or powder should be free from insects, fibres and seeds. The concentrate shall have characteristic flavour, free from burnt or any other objectionable flavour and taste.

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