New Delhi [India]: The delicately moulded homemade chocolates are the best form of celebrating happiness, expressing love and gratitude towards our loved ones, but do ensure that you buy them only from a licensed outlet so you do not fall prey to health concerns.
The homemade chocolate industry comprises of the organised as well as the unorganised sector and even in the organised sector, these chocolates are called homemade because they cannot be mass produced and are made in batches of a few kilograms.
Before buying these chocolates ask the seller, if they have a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license or not.
Another food safety norm that comes to mind is – ingredients used in homemade chocolates and are they free from adulteration and contamination.
“Chocolate manufacturers should take the utmost care in maintaining high standards of quality. Moreover, standards and regulations must be followed so consumers can be provided with safe chocolates and chocolate products,” said Dr. Saurabh Arora-founder of Food Safety Helpline.
Cocoa is the main ingredient used in making home-made chocolates, followed by dry fruits and some chocolatiers also use herbs and other fillings of fruits and jams.
It is a well-known fact that unless cocoa beans are roasted adequately and handled hygienically and they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella spp. bacteria.
Other raw materials like milk and eggs also need to be adequately heat-treated and handled hygienically to keep them free from bacterial contamination. Personal hygiene can cause major issues as homemade chocolates are finished by hand-dipping.
Things that should be checked are-
1. Contaminated ingredients like mouldy dry fruit,
2. Contaminated and unclean processing equipment and moulds
3. Unhygienic handling
4. Inappropriate packaging material
5. Adulteration can occur from inferior quality milk, sugar or starch used in chocolates
6. Cocoa beans, nuts and other ingredients can be contaminated by insects, rodents, and mycotoxins unless stored properly.
7. Is the machinery clean and washed thoroughly and so that it not lead to infestation by insects or microbial contamination
The packaging in some homemade chocolates has no manufacturing, expiry or best before date so there is no way to know how much shelf life they have left. Homemade chocolates in speciality stores usually have a shelf life of only 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature.
Chocolates need to be stored in the right temperature or they could deteriorate in appearance and texture. A crack or a whitish cast or sheen on the chocolate means it has not been stored at the right temperature.
Dr. Arora established Food Safety Helpline (www.foodsafetyhelpline.com), a one stop solution for the people in the food industry to stay up-to-date, understand and implement the requirements of the Food Safety and Standards Act and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The site has a simple objective to help food businesses understand and comply with the requirements of this new and rapidly evolving food law which has been put in place to provide safe and hygienic food to all the citizens of India. (ANI)