The Quality Assurance & Management Division was set up in CIFT on the day of 9 May, 1996 by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for taking up research, development, extension and training programmes in seafood quality assurance and safety. The Division has expertise in areas such as seafood quality assurance and safety, production and evaluation process of water and ice, industrial sanitation and hygiene, pest control in seafood processing plants, seafood authentication, modern quality management programmes such as EU regulations, HACCP, TQM, QMP, Codex/IS standards, etc. The Division has expertise on ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories and ISO/IEC 17043:2010 Conformity assessment- General requirements for proficiency testing for chemical and biological parameters. The Division carries out different aspects of research work such as method development, method validation & verification, risk assessment, food safety hazards identification and mitigation, assessment of compliance to regulatory requirements, food authentication, utilization of secondary raw materials from seafood industry, rapid test methods, etc. In addition to the research work, the Division is involved in testing of commercial and legal samples of fish and fishery products. Most of the quality and safety parameters for testing are maintained under the NABL scopes. The scientists of the Division are actively involved in Inter Departmental Panel (IDP) or Assessment Panel Experts (APE), an initiative of the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, involving three governmental agencies such as EIA, CIFT and MPEDA for preliminary inspection of fish processing plants to oversee the standard quality requirements. The Division has been entrusted with the responsibility for the smooth functioning of National Referral Laboratory (NRL) of ICAR-CIFT, Cochin.
Major Areas of Research
- Development of new rapid methods for evaluating microbial, chemical and organoleptic quality.
- Development of new techniques of Quality Assurance for ensuring food safety and eating quality.
- Development of package of practices for Good Manufacturing Practice, Good sanitation and Hygiene Practice, Good Laboratory Practice and Good Personnel Policy for different types of Food Industries
- Development of improved water purification techniques to meet IS and EU and other international requirements.
- Development of effective methods for disposal of liquid and solid wastes from food processing industries.
- Development of eco-friendly waste utilization and minimization technologies for seafood industries.
- Quality and safety assessment of fish and fishery products.
- Development of methods and its validation and verification.
- Risk assessment of food safety hazards in fish and fishery products.
- Food fraud and fish species authentication.
Major Research Findings
- Natural levels of formaldehyde in 152 species of finfish and shellfish comprising of 2929 samples collected from 28 locations across India was estimated.
- Method developed for total Florfenicol residues in fish as sum of Florfenicol and its amine, oxolinic acid, enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, Sulfadimethoxine by AB Sciex 4000 QTRAP Mass Spectrometry.
- Analysis of tissue depletion and withdrawal period estimation of Florfenicol in feed administration to marine and freshwater fishes was carried out.
- Heavy metal and trace mineral data of 3616 samples of 240 species of commercially important finfish and shellfish varieties were compiled and submitted to FSSAI for formulation of standards.
- Developed method for the determination of multiclass pesticide residue in Fish and Fish products.
- Ingredient compositions and machine operation parameters were standardized for floating feed preparations by utilizing fish waste.
- Studies indicated that 38% of ice used for seafood preservation harboured one or more Shiga toxin genes
- The isolates of L. monocytogenes were found to possess all virulent genes namely inlA, inlC, inlJ, hlyA, iap, plcA and prfA, respectively.
- Serotyping of L. monocytogenes isolates indicated that they belong to serotype 1/2a, 3a serogroups.
- Method was developed for estimation of FSSR approved artificial food colour additives (Indigotine, Ponceau 4R, Allura Red and Sunset Yellow) in fish and fishery products.
- Feeding experiments conducted in BV 280 breed of poultry with shrimp processing waste-based feed showed that the HU value of feed treated egg was 73.46 against the control value 71.09. Significant difference in Egg Weight was observed in the treatment lot.
- Commercially available brands of fish oil, both imported and domestically manufactured were evaluated for compliance as per Codex Standard (329-2017). More than 30% of samples did not comply with the quality and safety parameters stipulated in the standard.
- Gap analysis for method availability for all test parameters stipulated under FSSR for various categories of food products were compiled.
- Method developed for the determination of multiclass pesticide residues in fish and fish products.
- Quality survey of food & beverages including drinking water.
- Package of practices for food industries to ensure safety and quality.
- Quality evaluation & defect rectification of water, raw materials and other ingredients of food industry.
- Processing plants inspection for HACCP compliance.
- Approval of Technologists.
- Approval of laboratories of processing plants.
- Sanitary survey.
- Certification of sanitation and Phyto-sanitation.
- Solid and liquid waste disposal including setting up of ETPs.
- Package of practice for pathogen free chilled fish.
- Rodent/Fly Proofing.
- Good Hygiene Practice for specific food industries.
- Good Laboratory Practice for specific food industries.
- Good Manufacturing Practices for seafood industries.
- Seafood quality control - 12 working days.
- Hygiene and sanitation - 3 working days.
- Seafood handling practices - 3 working days.
- HACCP concept – 5 working days.
- Identification of pathogens – 6 working days.
- ITEC training on ‘Quality assurance of fish and fishery products’-14 working days
- Training on Instrumentations.
- Training on ISO Methods for microbiological analysis
- Training on Multi-residue testing techniques for pesticides and veterinary drugs residues
- Training on Water quality testing
- Training on the determination of Biogenic amines in fish
- Training on testing of contaminants in seafood
- Training on Rapid microbiological techniques
- Training on Rapid detection of formaldehyde and Ammonia
Implementation of European Union Regulations for:
- Fishing Vessels
- Landing Centres
- Transportation System
- Ice plants
- Processing plants
- Pre-Processing centres
- Packaging materials
Implementation of FDA regulations in seafood processing plants:
- Seafood Quality Assurance:
A 14 days training programme, which imparts the basic knowledge in Seafood handling and its quality control. The course includes elaborate theory and practical classes. A must for every processing technologist.
- HACCP Concepts:
A 14 days training programme covers all the basic aspects of HACCP and its implementation. The course covers practical aspects of HACCP implementation and its validation.
- Verification and Auditing:
This, 7 days advanced training programme include practical demonstration and implementation of verification of HACCP plan and its auditing.
- Public Hygiene and Sanitation:
This, 4 days training programme covers all the basic aspects of sanitation and hygiene, which should be followed in any food manufacturing factories.
- Personal Health and Hygiene:
This 4-day training programme include all the aspects of hygiene and sanitation a personnel, who is handling food in a processing factory. This training is very essential for all the factory workers, supervisors, technologists and managers to foresee and prevent any contamination and other related hazards.
- Good Manufacturing Practices:
A 5 days training programme which covers all the aspects of good manufacturing practices as per EU and FDA norms, which should be undertaken by any food processing factories.
The Division undertakes analytical services of the samples from fish processing and allied industries and issues certificates.
Water & Ice
All physical, chemical and microbiological parameters. Portability of water, Heavy and Toxic metals in water, Pesticides in water, Antibiotics in water, All Anions and Cations BOD, COD etc.
Fish and fishery products
Organoleptic evaluation Proximate composition. Total Volatile Nitrogen (TVN), Tri Methyl Amine Nitrogen, Alpha Amino Nitrogen, Yield Bio toxins, K Value, Diarrhetic shellfish toxins (DSP), Paralytic shellfish toxins (PSP). All microbiological parameters.
Estimation of Total plate count, E. coli, Faecal Streptococci, Staphylococcus spp, Salmonella spp, Vibrio cholera, Vibrio vulnificus, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Listeria spp. Sulphite reducing Clostridium etc.
- Preparation of plant layout for fish processing plants.
- Setting up of Effluent Treatment plants.
- Design and layout for Quality Control Laboratory for seafood Processing plants.
- Setting up of QC Lab.
- HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) implementation.
- Implementation of ISO 17025 for NABL accreditation in food testing laboratories
- HACCP Manual preparation and guidance.
- HACCP Validation.
- HACCP Verification.
- HACCP Auditing Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
- Implementation of GMP and SSOP in food processing factories
- Modernizing fish markets
- Hygiene and sanitation.
- Rodent and pest control.
- Quality upgradation.
- Seafood handling practices.
- Water quality improvement.
- CIFTest- rapid testing kit for formaldehyde and ammonia by which these adulterants can be detected in 2 min.
- Chloritest paper- rapid detection technique by which level of chlorine can be estimated within a couple of minutes in the range of 5ppm to 200 ppm.
- Deodorant- it is a formulation which helps to prevent foul smell in seafood establishment effectively through inhibition of bacterial growth. It also acts as a repellent of flies and gives a pleasant smell to the premises. It has to be applied after diluting with water during the final wash.
- Antiseptic ointment for Prawn/fish Handlers- an effective ointment to heal skin lesions/eruptions. After an hour the ointment may be washed off with soap and water.
- Test strips for sulfite residues- a quantitative test strip for estimating sulfite residues in prawn muscle. The presence of sulfite is represented by development of a blue/violet colour depending upon the concentration/ level of the residue.
- Lipstick from squid pigment- lipstick made from the chromatophores isolated from the squid skin discards.
- Depuration System for bivalves