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Physiochemical Parameters

Milk Fat/Total Fat

In ice creams, the milk fat adds richness of flavour, contributes to a smooth texture with creamy body and good meltdown, and adds lubrication to the palate as it is consumed. Frozen desserts consist of vegetable fat along with milk fat. Vegetable fats are used extensively as fat sources in frozen dessert and their use is permitted in frozen desserts. As per FSS Regulations, the value of milk fat in ice cream and total fat in frozen dessert should not be less than 10 per cent. In case of medium-fat ice cream and medium-fat frozen dessert, it should be more than 2.5 per cent but less than 10 per cent.

  • In ice creams, Amul and Baskin Robbins were found with higher fat percentage; among frozen desserts, Kwality Wall’s had the highest total fat.
Vegetable fats and oils are lipid materials derived from plants. Ice cream is expected to be free from vegetable fat. However, frozen dessert may consist of vegetable fat/oil.
  • Vegetable oil was found absent in the ice-cream brands and was present in frozen desserts.

Weight/Volume (gm per litre)

Net weight of ice cream and frozen dessert should be a minimum 525 gm per litre; for medium-fat frozen dessert it should be a minimum 475 gm per litre.

  • All the brands were above the minimum requirements.

Total Solids

Total solids of ice cream include the milk solids and the added sugar. The requirements as per FSS Regulations are: a minimum 36 per cent by weight for ice cream and frozen dessert, not less than 30 per cent for medium-fat ice cream and frozen dessert, and not less than 26 per cent for low-fat ice cream.

  • All the brands met the minimum requirement for total solids except Amul (35.74 per cent).
  • Baskin Robbins contained highest total solids among all the ice cream brands.
  • In frozen desserts, all the brands scored full marks – this is good for consumers.

Sucrose

Sugar (sucrose) gives a natural sweet taste and uniform texture to the product. Besides thick density, it also enhances the perception of various fruit flavours and acts as a preservative. As per Indian Standards, sucrose content of ice cream should not be more than 15 per cent by weight. For frozen dessert, no requirement of sucrose has been specified in the national standards.

  • Mother Dairy (16.86 per cent) and Amul (16.22 per cent) were found with higher sucrose.
  • Verka (14.57 per cent) and Baskin Robbins (14.63 per cent) were found with lower sucrose content.

Water (Moisture)

In ice creams/frozen desserts, moisture and air are found in high percentage and are a main ingredient. Moisture is found in almost every food product in some quantity, but its higher presence can affect the shelf life of the product. There is no requirement for moisture in the national standards for ice creams/frozen desserts.

  • Highest moisture content was found in Amul; lower moisture was found in Kwality Wall’s, Vadilal and Mother Dairy.

Protein

As per the national standards, total protein should not be less than 3.5 per cent for ice cream/medium-fat ice cream and frozen dessert/medium-fat frozen dessert.

  • Amul (5.40 per cent) and Baskin Robbins (5.12 per cent) were found with higher protein level.
  • At 2.97 per cent, the protein in Cream Bell fell slightly short of the requirement.

Acidity Percentage (as Lactic Acid)

The acidity of a packaged product is related to its shelf life. If acidity (acetic acid) is lower than the minimum limit, microbes may grow, will allow contamination of the product, and reduce the shelf life of the product. As per the Indian Standards, acidity of ice cream should not be more than 0.25 per cent.

  • All the brands were within the maximum limit.

Saccharin

Saccharin is an artificial sweetener. It has effectively no food energy and is much sweeter than sucrose, but has an unpleasant bitter or metallic aftertaste, especially at high concentrations.

  • No brand was adulterated with saccharine.

Starch

Starch is a polysaccharide carbohydrate. It is produced by all green plants as an energy store. As an additive for food processing, food starches are typically used as thickeners and stabilisers in ice cream.

  • Starch was absent in all the brands.


Microbiological Activity

Microbiological contamination is a very serious issue for all food products. We conducted this test for standard plate count, yeast and mould, Coliform count, S. aureus, Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria monocytogenes and anaerobic spore count. 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.
Total plate count: As per the Indian Standards, total plate count in ice cream should not be more than 2.5 x 105.

  • All the brands were within the specified requirement 2.5 x 105. TPC was found highest in Cream Bell and lowest in Mother Dairy.

Yeast and mould

This should be less than 10 cfu/ gram.

  • The yeast and mould count was within the permissible limit in all the brands.
  • Coliform count

    Presence of coliform organism in frozen dairy products usually signifies improper processing, subsequent contamination from equipment, flies, personnel, etc., or addition of ingredients to mixes after pasteurisation and generally insanitary conditions of handling. As per the Indian Standards, coliform count in ice cream shall not be more 100 per gm.

  • All the brands were within the maximum permissible limit.
  • S. aureus

    A gram-positive bacterial pathogen, the S. aureus can cause skin infections such as impetigo, cellulitis, and postoperative wound infections. It can also cause infections that are more serious, such as pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis, and pericarditis. As per the Indian Standards, S. aureus count in ice cream shall not be more than 10 cfu per gm.

  • All the brands were within the maximum permissible limit.
  • Salmonella

    It is a pathogenic bacterium that causes food poisoning in humans. It is responsible for salmonellosis, a kind of food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with Salmonella typhimurium. Salmonella has to be absent in ice creams.

    Shigella

    It is a group of bacteria that can cause an illness called shigellosis, marked by high fever and acute diarrhoea, sometimes mixed with blood (dysentery). Shigella has to be absent in ice creams.

    Listeria monocytogenes

    It is one of the most virulent food-borne pathogens. Listeriosis is the leading cause of death among food-borne bacterial pathogens, with fatality rates exceeding even Salmonella and Clostridium botulinum. This pathogen is required to be absent in ice creams.

    Anaerobic spore count

    An anaerobic infection is an infection caused by bacteria (called anaerobes) that cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria can infect deep wounds, deep tissues, and internal organs where there is little oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria are required to be absent in ice creams.


    Sensory Attributes

    Sensory (organoleptic) panel tests

    Sensory (organoleptic) panel tests were conducted to judge the ice creams and frozen desserts on these attributes: appearance, body texture, taste, flavour, and after-taste feeling. Ratings were given on a scale of 9 – 9 for ‘most liked’ and 1 for ‘least liked’. The ratings were then converted into scores.

  • Verka in ice cream and Cream Bell in frozen dessert topped in the overall sensory scores in their respective categories.

  • General Qualities

    Marking/Labelling

    As per the Indian Standards, the container/ wrapper/label of ice cream shall be marked with the following particulars: a) Name and type of the product with proper prefix, such as fruit, nut, chocolate
    b) Name and full address of manufacturer
    c) Batch or code number
    d) Volume in litre/millilitre
    e) Vegetarian mark
    f) Storage instructions
    g) MRP
    h) ‘Best before’ date
    i) Customer-care details

  • Frozen-dessert brands Cream Bell, Kwality Wall’s and Vadilal did not mention weight in gm – they mentioned only volume in ml.
  • List of Ingredients

    List of ingredients marked on product label shows the highest percentage for water in both ice creams and frozen desserts.

    Packaging

    As per the Indian Standards, material used for wrapping or packing of ice cream shall be of such a nature as to impart no off-flavour or off-odour, nor should they in any way contaminate the product packed under normal conditions of manufacturer, storage and use.