The decision to revise the microbiological standards was taken at a recent meeting of the scientific panel of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Dr Naresh Goyal, senior scientist at the National Dairy Research Institute, told FoodNavigator-Asia.com about the decision to review the benchmarks.
Goyal said that the agency is now calling for comments from industry stakeholders on these microbiological standards.
The review was necessary, said an official from the FSSAI, in light of improving standards in countries like the US, EU, Australia and New Zealand.
“The problem with Indian microbiological standards in milk and milk products is that they are set for the manufacturing level and not all the way across to the retail end of the cycle,” he added, preferring to remain anonymous.
The excuse for this earlier, he disclosed, was that India suffers from a lack of proper cold storage across the supply chain in the dairy sector and thus it was not prudent to expect standards at the retail end.
“But the FSSAI panel is now on focussed on milk and milk products having the same standards until they reach the consumer," he said, with the panel insisting on cold storage specified for any milk product beinge applicable throughout the chain and not just at the manufacturing, warehousing, or retail level.
The official also disclosed that the panel had decided that microbiological parameters for milk and milk products would be better specified as per gram of milk rather than per millimetre of milk.