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Dr Renu Agrawal pens book on ‘food safety’

By R Murali

Mysuru, September 24:- Talent doesn’t need a trumpet. It speaks for itself. A distinguished scientist from the heritage city, Dr Renu Agrawal, who has many firsts to her credit, needs no introduction. That she has won many awards, nationally and internationally, are a testimony to what she has achieved in the field of research.

What differentiates Dr Renu from others is her insatiable appetite to achieve more and more. She is not too worried about accolades and if they happen to come her way, she has no complaints. Having retired as a senior scientist from Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru, Dr Renu’s journey over the years is all about success and more success. But she is too modest to accept it and according to her, “Life is a learning curve, the more you learn the more is left.”

The veteran scientist has authored two books in the past. One on ‘Role of probiotics in improving human health’ and the other on ‘Agricultural wastes in the production of high-valued products.’ The latest one – ‘Making Foods Safe and Free From Pathogens’ – is a landmark in Dr Renu’s distinguished career. She has taken all the pains to explain what is awareness of food safety management, the ways and means to make food safe and make it pathogen-free. The book explains food hygiene, the journey of research being taken in food safety till date and the challenges that we are going to face in future to ensure food safety and its wholesomeness. It also includes the role and responsibilities of the various sectors of society, namely governments, food industry, consumers and academia. It is important that for the empowerment of the public they understand how to go about it.

According to the book, the problems with Asian food safety involves primary producers who work under difficult environmental conditions, where the raw materials have to be transported to long distances. The final destination to the consumer is the retail foods store or a restaurant, which is usually presumed to be safe, nutritious and tasty. However, the consumer is not aware of the safety of the food or adulteration if any.

This book will help the community at large to know and be aware of food safety. It will also help the consumers in keeping the environment green, clean and healthy and ultimately improving human health. The book also provides a science and risk-based intervention approach to the food industry for the control of food safety hazards.

The book has been divided into 15 chapters. Chapter 1 deals with the introduction of food safety. Chapter 2 deals with what is food safety and describes the handling, preparation and storage of food that can prevent food-borne diseases and about food recall. Chapter 3 deals with how can we make the food safe? How important it is the way we cook our food. It also deals with while cooking how can there be cross-contamination starting from raw foods. Chapter 4 deals with how good are organic foods?

It has been observed that in recent times organic and local foods are preferred as they use fewer pesticides or fertilisers. The author has brought out the details of these foods, like others, can be exposed to harmful bacteria during the growing and harvesting process and how they can be protected.  Chapter 5 deals with the role of packaging material in food and the systems where the chemicals do not reach into the food during cooking. Chapter 6 deals with food adulteration and the harmful side effects as it is unethical and criminal malpractice but is very common in countries of the South-East Asia region.

Main features of the book include: the three food safety hazards: microbial, chemical and physical, with a special emphasis on microbial hazards and food recalls are explained. It also explains practical guidance on how to control food safety hazards. The information in the book is presented in a straight forward, instructive manner.


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