Ready-to-Eat Extruded Snacks - They all failed the fat test
Extruded snacks may sound like too heavy a terminology for your regular Kurkure, Fun Stix, and so on, but it’s just a way to demarcate a category of snacks made by a different process – in this case, extrusion cooking. While this process offers scope for developing relatively healthy variants (with alternative flours and grains) and inventive shapes, standards for this category of snacks are yet to be established in India’s food safety regulations. The five brands we have tested are all proprietary foods, which means that there are no standards for these in the food regulations. Yet, there must be some benchmarks to abide by. For instance, a major safety criterion for readyto- eat extruded snacks is total bacterial count. As you will find in the report, not all the brands fulfil this safety aspect.
The Food Safety and Standards Regulations provide no standard for this product category, though the Indian Standards IS 12566:1989 under ‘ready-to-eat extruded snacks’ specification prescribes limits for various aspects such as fat content and bacterial count. These requirements are not mandatory for manufacturers and it may be noted that no ISI mark was found on the products we tested. As a matter of fact, all of the tested products exceeded the limit for fat content.
Peroxide Value of Extracted Fat
Detection of peroxide value is evidence of rancidity in fat/oils. As per IS 12566: 1989, in ready-to-eat extruded snacks the peroxide value of extracted fat should not be more than 10 meq oxygen/kg fat. In the tests we conducted, the peroxide value of extracted fat was nil for all five brands, which means they are fine for consumption.
You can see list of our CV Surveillance Series - Ready-to-Eat Extruded Snacks below, perform Side-by-Side comparison. If you need further help, do have a look at Conzumr Guides and Tips. Alternatively you can view all Ready-to-Eat Extruded Snacks to choose your own favourites.
Ready-to-eat extruded snacks are made by a process known as extrusion cooking. Here, preconditioned raw food material is subjected to high-temperature short-time cooking which results in the material acquiring plastic consistency. This material is then extruded through specially tapered dies. As it emerges from the dies, it passes from a high-pressure zone to a low-pressure one and this results in puffing of the product. The cooked dough is cut to the desired size, after which it is dried to the desired moisture level. Finally, the product is coated with oil, flavours, salt, spices, sweetening agent, etc., and packed. These ingredients may also be added before extrusion.
One of the advantages of extrusion cooking is versatility with regard to ingredients selection and the shapes and textures of products that can be produced.
Side by Side comparison
Total bacterial 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. As per IS 12566:1989 specification for ready-to-eat extruded snacks, the total bacterial count should not be more than 50,000 cfu/gm. Therefore, a lower count is better.
- Fun Stix was found with the maximum total bacterial count at 109,091 cfu/gm. This is above the prescribed limit in the Indian Standards and hence the product is not suitable for consumption.
- The other brands were found within the prescribed limit and so are fit for consumption.
- Kurkure had the least total bacterial count at 1,273 cfu/gm.
The visible fat intake in diets can go up to 50 gm/ person/day based on the level of physical activity and physiological status. Adults with a sedentary lifestyle should consume about 25 gm of visible fat, while individuals involved in hard physical work require 30 gm to 40 gm of visible fat. As per IS 12566:1989, fat content in ready-to-eat extruded snacks should not be more than 25 per
For General Qualities
The product shall be packed in flexible thermoplastic films or multi-layer or mono-layer construction or their laminates with paper and/or aluminium foil so as to provide high resistance to the passage of oxygen and water vapour, and also to produce an effective heat seal. The sealing shall be done hermetically with or without nitrogen flushing to retain the contents in a fresh condition.
- Name of the product
- Trade name, if any
- Name and address of manufacturer
- Batch or code number
- Net quantity in gram or kg
- Month and year of manufacture
- The words ‘Best before’ (month and year to be indicated)
- Nutritional information
- FSSAI license number
- Logo indicating ‘vegetarian’ or ‘non-vegetarian’ status
- Storage information
- Maximum Retail Price (MRP)
- Customer-care details