Microbiological contamination is a serious issue for all food products. We conducted tests for total plate count (TPC) and for presence of yeast and mould, E. coli, and Salmonella. These microorganisms are responsible for many food-borne diseases. Due to improper or poor hygienic condition during the manufacturing process, microorganisms may occur in the finished product.
Brown & Polson and Shree Krishna complied with all microbiological parameters.
Total plate count in Weikfield was found to be beyond the acceptable limit and hence not considered to be desirable for consumers.
Unlike many other disease-causing bacteria, E. coli can lead to an infestation even if ingested only in a small amount. In all of the tested brands of custard powder, E. coli was found below 10 cfu per gram.
Total plate count is the amount of viable bacteria in a food product and serves as a key indicator of the product’s overall quality and safety.
High yeast and mould count in a food product is not desirable and indicates improper plant sanitation control, improper packing, and faulty storage. Only in Brown & Polson, Classic and Shree Krishna was the yeast and mould count found to be less than 10 cfu per gram.
Salmonella, the name of a group of bacteria, is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. In all the tested brands of custard powder, it was found absent in 25 grams.
High yeast and mould count in a food product is not desirable and indicates improper plant sanitation control, improper packing, and faulty storage.
Synthetic Colour (Non-Permitted Colour)
As per FSS Regulations, a few permitted colours can be added to custard powder.
Synthetic colour (non-permitted colour) was not detected in any of the brands.
As per FSS Regulations, lead in custard powder shall not be more than 2.5 ppm (for ‘foods not specified’ category).
Lead content was not detected in any of the brands.
As per FSS Regulations, total ash content, excluding added common salt (on dry basis), in custard powder shall not be more than 0.5 per cent.
Total ash was found within the prescribed limit in all the brands. The least amount was found in Shree Krishna, followed by Brown & Polson.
The material shall be packed in clean, sound, and dry containers. The material shall be processed and packed under good hygienic conditions.
Brown & Polson, Tops, and Weikfield were in cardboard paper. Classic, Shree Krishna, and Mehak were in thermoplastic material.
The following information shall be clearly and indelibly marked on the label of each container/packet:
Name of the product
Trade name, if any
Name and address of manufacturer
Batch or code number
Net quantity in grams or kilograms
List of ingredients, in descending order of their composition by quantity
Statement with respect to addition of permitted colour and flavours
Month and year of manufacture
The words ‘Best before’ (month and year to be indicated)
Logo indicating ‘vegetarian’ or ‘non-vegetarian’ status
The importance of marking cannot be overemphasised, as it gives information about the characteristics of the product and/or claims of the manufacturer, all of which help consumers in choosing the product.
All brands except Mehak had labelling as per FSS requirement. Mehak did not give nutritional information.
Unit Price (Rs) of 100 grams
The unit price gives a fair idea about the cheapest and costliest brands.
In the 100 gm–200 gm category, Brown & Polson is the cheapest brand and Tops is the costliest.
In the 1 kg category, Classic is the cheapest and Mehak is costliest.