With growing incidents of food scares and outbreak of food borne illnesses in developed nations over the past few years there has been a growing public awareness towards food safety. The food industry is facing significant challenges from environmental variables such as toxins, chemical residues and pathogens and adulterants such as dyes which pose a high risk to food products.
The food safety challenges have resulted in importing countries bringing in accelerated stringent regulations. Countries in the European Union and Japan, Korea and USA rank high on food safety norms and regulations which is trickling down to the developing world.
European Union brought stringent food safety legislations and strict enforcements during 2008 to include increased number of pesticides and lower tolerance levels for aflatoxins and pesticide residues in spices. USA, the largest importer of spices from India enacted the next wave of changes in food safety through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in January 2011 to be administered by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These norms have undergone multiple changes since then and are further evolving. The norms related to pesticide residues are the most stringent in the world. For example, Ethion a pesticide residue has a limit of zero ppm (parts per million) in the USA vis-vis European standards of 0.1 ppm.
The above changes resulted in a market discontinuity in terms of product requirements and provided an opportunity for ITC Spices in 2009-10 to establish its position as a premium player. We have developed a complete value chain for food safety which is able to cater to the strictest regulations across the world. It has also achieved top end food safety and sustainability certifications. Our backward integration programme for spices focusses on food safety, product integrity and traceability.
Our focus has always been to service the customers with the right product, build relevant capabilities in terms of manpower, infrastructure, sourcing and crop development to ensure product quality and on time service delivery.
The nexus of ITC’s quality interventions spans right from farm level to processing and sterilization. Our four - fold screening procedure ensures that the product that reaches the customer is of pristine quality.
Through our robust backward integration programme and extensive crop surveys, we ensure that our raw material only consists of crop that has been cultivated using the best farming practises. The assurance of quality of the intake raw material is further reinforced as the product progresses across the value chain and through meticulously designed quality checks.
Top notch bar code traceability systems, state of the art in - house testing capabilities and vendor assessment processes fortify our food safety and quality systems.
Fastidious internal assessment systems and continuous refinement of quality systems through data driven studies and regular experimentation and a six sigma approach toward process excellence enhance our expertise in processing spices. It is this expertise and exemplary custody of our supply chain that make us the preferred source of straight and blended spices for food industry giants.
The objective of the Supply Process Assurance is “To achieve 100% compliance to service delivery”. Six Sigma orientation and implementation of dynamic quality controls, optimization of sampling methodologies and evolving benchmarking strategies through analytical undertakings enhance our expertise in processing spices and help us in building an efficient and responsive supply chain.
It is this expertise and exemplary custody of our supply chain that make us the preferred source of straight and blended spices for food industry giants.