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Microbiological Activity

Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 (Appendix B, Table 2 notes), specifies microbiological requirements at manufacturing unit only. There is no requirement at retail level. However, microbiological requirements should be maintained up to retailer’s end as consumers buy the paneer directly from the retailer.

Microbiological Test

  • Only three brands – Mother Dairy, Amul, and DMS – complied with the TPC requirement for packaged paneer. In the rest of the brands, TPC was found to be way above the maximum limit.
  • Param and DMS did not comply with the coliform requirement. Ananda failed to meet the requirement for yeast and mould count.
  • Only Mother Dairy and Amul passed the microbiological test in all the three parameters.

TPC requirement for packaged paneer

Total plate count is a measure of biological activity in sample. This test may be used to measure a product such as food.

(TPC, colony-forming unit [cfu]/gm)

m: 300,000 per gram, M: 500,000 per gram

Coliform Requirement

Coliforms is a group of bacteria that are used as indicators of presence of pathogens and viruses in a sample.

Yeast and mould

Yeast and mould (cfu/gram)

m: 150 per gram, M: 250 per gram


Physicochemical Parameters

Milk Fat

Paneer derived from milk contains mainly milk fat, which is highly essential for better health. Fat helps in gaining of weight as well as for digestion of certain fat-soluble vitamins. The percentage of fat in paneer varies due to variation in milk composition as well as source – generally buffalo’s milk has more fat than that of cow. As per the national standards, paneer should contain at least 50 gm/100 gm of fat when measured on dry basis.

  • All the brands fulfilled the minimum requirement for fat content.
  • Paras (54.17 gm/100 gm) had the highest amount of fat and Ananda the lowest (51.32 gm/100 gm).
  • Protein

    Paneer is a rich source of protein and is a substitute for non-vegetarian foods.

  • Amul (22.41 gm/100 gm) was found with the highest amount of protein, followed by Ananda and Param. The lowest amount of protein was found in Madhusudan.
  • Cholesterol

    Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) that is produced by the liver. Cholesterol is vital for normal body function.Every cell in our body has cholesterol in its outer layer.

  • Param was found with the highest amount of cholesterol, followed by Madhsudan, Mother Dairy, and Paras. Ananda had the lowest cholesterol.
  • There are two type of cholesterol: ‘good’ cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and ‘bad’ cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL). A high level of HDL may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. HDL cholesterol helps your body remove LDL by carrying it from the bloodstream and artery walls to your liver, where it is broken down and excreted from the body. LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, can cause more plaque to form in your arteries. This thick, hard deposit can clog arteries and make them harder in a condition called atherosclerosis, which can lead to a greater risk of heart attack or stroke.

    Moisture

    Paneer is a highly perishable milk product that deteriorates rapidly because of high moisture content. Moisture up to a certain limit is an inherent part of fresh paneer and is important in judging the quality of paneer. As per the national standards, it should not be more than 60 per cent.

  • Moisture in all the brands was found within the specified limit.
  • Param had the lowest moisture and Paras the highest.
  • Energy

    Energy value for all brands was quantified and also compared with the declared value.

    • Param was found to provide the maximum energy, followed by Reliance Dairy Life and Amul.

    Calcium

    Paneer is a good source of calcium and its consumption helps in preventing osteoporosis. As per recommended dietary allowances (RDA), daily calcium intake is 1,000 milligrams for those who are 19 years to 50 years old. Paneer contributes around 40 per cent to 50 per cent of daily value of calcium.

  • Amul had the highest amount of calcium, followed by Param. Reliance Dairy Life contained the lowest amount, though it was within the permissible limit.
  • Titratable acidity

    The maximum acidity allowed is 0.50 grams per 100 grams. Presence of acidity as lactic acid was measured in paneer as its presence in high quantity could cause paneer to become bitter as well as allow microbiological activity to begin.

  • All the brands were found below the maximum limit set by the national standard.
  • Mother Dairy (0.14 gm/100 gm) had the lowest acidity and Reliance Dairy Life the highest (0.25 gm/100 gm).

  • Sensory Attributes

    Based on the guidelines of IS: 15346-2003 (Method for sensory evaluation of paneer/channa), the following attributes were considered for judging the sensory attributes of paneer. The tests were conducted by expert panellists. Scores were given on a 100 scale by each panel members and average mean scores were taken.

    Sensory Evaluation

    • Appearance - Paneer shall be clear and free from dirt, surface discolouration, insects and rodent contamination, and foreign matter/particles and adulterants. It shall not have any free moisture/water.
    • Flavour/Odour - Paneer shall have a pleasant odour and characteristic mild acidic flavour. It should be free from off-flavour and odour.
    • Texture and Colour - Paneer shall have a closely knit smooth and homogeneous texture, and firm, cohesive and spongy body. It should have milky white colour and no extraneous colouring matter shall be added to it.
    • Taste and After-Taste Feeling - Paneer shall have a good pleasant taste and not be bitter or have a smoky taste. Madhusudan topped in the overall sensory scores, followed by Param and Mother Dairy.


    General Qualities

    Marking

    As per the national standards, the following details should be clearly and indelibly marked on the labels (not applicable to loosely sold paneer): a) Name and trade name of product b) Name and address of manufacturer/marketer c) Batch or code number d) Net mass in grams e) Month and year of manufacture f) Best before (the date given by the manufacturer) g) Green dot h) Instructions for storage i) Nutritional information j) Maximum retail price

    Packing

    The paneer shall be in clean and suitable food-grade packages/wrappers conforming to the relevant Indian Standard. The packing will prevent the product from imparting off-flavour or odour and also prevent it from being contaminated under normal conditions of manufacture, storage, and use.

  • All the brands were packed in printed PVC material (polypack).
  • Weight

    The net weight was measured and compared with their declared values.

  • All the brands were within the maximum permissible limit of net weight as per Legal Metrology Rules.