TTD HOUSES STATE-OF-ART LABORATORY FOR BIOLOGICAL TESTS OF PRASADAM
TTD food labs to take up micro biological testing of water and oils soon -Dr Sermista
· Testing of pulses,oils and water day to day basis.
· Laddu tested in each tray for purity and weights
· Samples Ghee, milk and even tamarind jaggery, chili and turmeric powder checked before use.
· 105238 samples checked in 2015, 104503 samples checked in 2014 and over 60,000 this year so far
· Mechanization of cleaning of roads, Anna prasadam complex, Vaikumtam Queue complex
Tirumala,5 October 2016: The Health Wing of TTD, one of the major wings with over 448 permanent staff, over 2000 outsourcing staffs who work round the clock to keep Tirumala clean and hygienic. Apart from the regular cleaning and sanitation works, the department also handles yet another important functioning of testing, food, Prasadam, water samples and see that no adulteration take place in the preparation of Annaprasada and laddu Prasada.
According to Dr Sermista, “Very few know that there was a massive effort behind the design to keep all prasadam drinking water, milk, Annaprasadam, Laddu Prasadam etc. being consumed and taken home as a token of Lords blessings by lakhs devotees of Lord Venkateswara is free from all sorts of impurities. It is our mandate to ensure that belief and trust in Lord Venkateswara is not blemished even by very minute lapses. Every tray of Laddu, drinking water served as Jala prasadam and free meals given as Anna Prasadam to devotees is tested and certified on a regular and random basis every day without fail”, she said.
Meanwhile the food lab was set up in 1980 to check quality parameters of laddu and others as it took over seven weeks to get verification of supplies and finished products from the CFTRI labs at Mysore etc. What began as a small exercise in testing of food items has now developed into nerve center of TTDs major activity of prasadams for devotees, poor, students at both Tirumala and Tirupati and become a role model institution on its own merits. We will soon begin micro-biological testing of water and other liquids provided by TTD to further ascertain that they are safe and healthy and fool proof, says Dr Shermita.
TEAM OF SEVEN ANALYSTS
With a team of seven qualified food analysts including a senior analyst, the Food Quality Analysis Lab is emerging as one of the role model institutions with state of art equipment to enhance the reputation and glory of Lord Venkateswara to ensure that all the divine prasadam given to devotees are both fungus and contamination free.
Smt M Sushma Ramana Reddy, the senior analyst at the Food Laboratory says that twice a day about 1000 Laddu trays are tested forquality parameters in quantity of condiments and also quality of material used in laddu preparation areas as per standards set by the Dittam (traditional parameters). “Cashew nuts should be 23.5 gms, raisins to be 12.5 gms, almonds 8.2 gms and sugar candy -6.2 gms and moisture also should be 12% in each of big laddu. Adding the above quantity only provides a shelf life of 5-7 days for the precious and holy prasadam to remain good for consumption. Where there is a lapse we order the concerned tray and batch to be kept out of circulation till a full analysis is done”, she added.
The chief of Health Wing Dr Sermista says that the lab set up in 1980 has come a long way from just analyzing 15 kitchen items to include almost 45 other commodities, liquids, powders etc. “The efficacy of our work is shown every day as we analyse all food items supplied in Anna prasadam complex, Vaikuntham queue complex,,TTD run canteens in Educational institutions, hospitals, guest houses across Tirumala and Tirupati’, she says.
MODERN GADGETS FOR TESTING
The TTD food lab was set up in the spacious complex opposite to Sri Varahaswamy guest house and it is equipped with all latest gadgets to analyse the quality of pulses, oils including ghee, water and also food items. “We have all testing tools for chemical and physical checking sugar, jaggery, milk, butter milk against adulteration, coloring and other impurities. ‘We check both tender samples and also supply samples of all spices, powders etc Dr Sermista said.
TTD has acquired BR meter, Spectro Proto meters, muffle furnace for checking tamarind /jaggery. It has unique VV equipment for checking fiber content in pepper/ turmeric etc In the same manner water samples are taken from 30 locations in Tirumala and Tirupati daily on random places.
CLEANING OF POTU AND KITCHEN
Dr Shermista said “We get it cleaned every fortnight with traditional ingredients so as to not hurt the sentiments of the pious and also in line with the agama shastra Cleaning is done not only for potu floor but also the walls up to five feet to remove residues of all types once in a fortnight, she added.
Asked about the future road map of Food lab, Dr Sermista said the Food lab will soon take up micro-biological testing of liquids including water to further elevate the quality of food, water,butter milk and milk items supplied to scores of devotees at Tirumala and patients, students and poor in Tirupati.
ISSUED BY TTDs PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER, TIRUPATI