Genesis of Quality Assurance and Management Division in CIFT
Quality Assurance and Management was formerly a Section of the Fish Processing Division of CIFT. This Section was the nucleus for starting the statutory preshipment inspection for the first time in the country. In view of the very importing role of quality assurance programmes in ensuring seafood quality and safety, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research decided to set up an independent division for taking up research, development, extension and training programmes in seafood quality assurance. Accordingly, the Quality Assurance and Management Division came into existence on 9 May, 1996. The Division has expertise in areas such as seafood quality assurance, production and evaluation of process water and ice, factory sanitation and hygiene, pest/insect control in seafood processing plants, modern quality management programmes such as EU regulations, HACCP, TQM, QMP, Codex/IS standards etc.
What is quality assurance?
Quality assurance and management is the modern concept in quality control system. Seafoods have been identified as the single largest source of food borne diseases. In the food harvesting and processing system there are several avenues where the quality of the final product can be affected. This is true not only of developing countries but also of highly developed countries like Japan and USA.
Different countries have their own ways of quality maintenance like the QMP of Canada, ISO 9000 of International Standards Organisation and HACCP of USA. The Indian seafood industry maintains a good quality level for its various products. It has also to meet the quality requirements of the importing countries to stay afloat in the world market. Many importers such as USA, Canada and the European union countries are insisting on implementation of the HACCP system and EU regulation for the products imported by them.
HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) is a preventive strategy where location of hazards, identification of control points and logical approach to control these hazards are the essential elements for assuring product safety.
Following a ban on export of shrimp to EU nations from India owing to quality defects, the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India has constituted two committees, viz., and Inter Departmental Panel (IDP) involving three governmental agencies including CIFT for preliminary inspection of processing plants to oversee whether the quality requirements have been met and a Supervisory Audit Team (SAT) exclusively comprising CIFT scientists and senior officer of MPEDA to accord recommendation for final approval.
The Institute has been recognized by the European Union as the Reference Laboratory for calibrating Government laboratories and seafood processing plant laboratories.