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Farm to Table

Two thirds of the main crop species eaten worldwide, including maize, sugar cane and some legumes, release hydrogen cyanide to defend themselves from predators or herbivores. This produces toxic, bitter hydrogen cyanide that repels the herbivore. The major impacts on human health are seen when it is the edible part of the plant that produces cyanogenic compounds, such as in cassava roots. In fodder crops such as sorghum it can lead to livestock poisoning.Without correct processing, high levels of hydrogen cyanide in the food can cause neural disease and permanent paralysis. In drought conditions, the cyanide levels increase even higher.

Cassava is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the world after wheat and rice. The bitter varieties, favoured by farmers because of their better resistance to pests, contain two cyanogenic compounds.

These are backstage scene of various agricultural commodities which are used in the food and beverage industry as main input material. The input materials like agricultural produces are sourced by the F&B companies for processing their finished goods for the final consumption. The statutory norms mandate these firms to provide declaration on the various contents on the label of the product for consumer knowledge and information about the critical contents in the product.The statutory mandate in most of the countries also makes manufacturer of the package products liable and accountable for any kind of product eventuality. In order to comply with the statutory norms most of the firm implement and deploy strict quality parameters for input material specification and also laid down proper Quality Control norms.However, most of the time the quality control tests are conducted by the labs to ensure the receipt of the agricultural commodities are within the specification range as per the quality standards. This exercise is performed primarily to ensure that the standard manufacturing process can be undertaken to produce the finished goods as per the standard specifications.With the increase of consumer awareness, the consumer are more concerned about differentiated disclosure in terms of input material content depending on the various chemical properties of input commodities. The consumers are seeking information and enquiries with the manufacturing firms in terms of processing details from the production logs to ascertain whether the finished goods consumption will be safe from their long-term health perspective.

The manufacturing firms in the given context are not only maintaining such data for traceability but also getting subject to audit. The key imperative and the constraints that are currently being encountered by most of the food processing  units is to integrate the same with the finished goods. Since, the call on the data is mainly from the consumer end, the data traceability is required to maintained in details for all the input materials used in the manufacturing process. The complexity in this data traceability gets further spiraled, in case of the usage of semi-processed materials supplied by the third party vendor. In absence of any extended enterprise collaboration on real-time basis with the vendors of the manufacturing unit, the reliability and integrity of such data is always under question. The same data in question is always subject to a rigorous and complicated audit process. However, the integration and traceability of such input material usage is always very imposing, tedious and laborious, since most of the agricultural commodities are homogeneous in nature. The efforts are put out on the ground to do grading and sorting but the classified stacking and storing such homogeneous commodities always require manual interventions and supervision. In case, any input material requires special pre-processing before the actual manufacturing process due to varied chemical composition, the data for such treatment are not always possible to capture with detailed level granularity for providing information to consumers to ensure trust and faith in the manufacturer.

On the other hand marketers are trying to make use of this consumers’ growing need for such data to build USP [ unique selling proposition] around the product to win their heart.  

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