Saturday, 22 March 2014

Exposure trip at PIA Flight Kitchen

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is Pakistan’s flagship airline, offering international air travel services since 1955. The visit to PIA flight kitchen had been an amazing experience. Manager Material Planning Mr. Syed Nayar Ahmed, Laboratory Assistant Ms. Faiza and Ms. Shehla Nadeem help us exploring each department of flight kitchen. 

The kitchen is spacious and well-equipped, serving culinary joy ranging from scrumptious Pakistani food to delicious Western cuisines to more than 15,000 passengers every day, travelling on national and international flights. They are serving food on basis of nutrition and quality. The kitchen is supported by experienced production and operation teams including skilled food technologists, microbiologist and chefs having diverse experience in international cuisines. 
Chief Baker Mr. Muhammad Ali, 
serving PIA for last 26 year

The production department comprises of sub store, raw material and finished goods cold storage and hot storage area and hot and cold bakery.  They ensure temperature controlled environment to keep the hot food hot and cold food cold. Hot bakery is equipped with large ovens and high speed mixtures. They process approximately 10000 bread rolls daily. Different coloured codes were place on the packed food to specify production time and disposal date. In spite of controlled temperature and assured quality they don’t serve food after 48 hours. From out bound bay the food is carried in a van that transports the food to the plane.

Bread rolls, ready for baking. 

Dosa sheets shaping

The operation area comprises of holding room, control room, foreign handling, cabin setting and preparatory unit. After production the food is held in holding room having temperature -50C. PIA’s Kitchen Control room offers 24 hours services to take notes of requests for special meal like kosher and vegetarian meals, baby food, diabetic and low cholesterol meals. The supervisor told us that cargo & foreign handling departments were the two main source of PIA’s popularity. After foreign handling cabin setting department starts which deals with accessories stocks from pillow to tissues or baby carries etc. Preparatory unit stores a small part that included all the dry products approximately 6000 products like tea bags, coffee sachet, milk powder etc. At In bound bay there is dish washing area consist huge dishwashers. Pre cleaning is done with hot water (78-900C) then detergent and clean water and in the end clean utensils are air dried. 

     At the end they served us delicious delights. 
(Dawoodpotta shortbreads & sandwiches)

We are thankful to PIA’s General Manager Food Mr. Hanif Rana and his teams for making this exposure trip a great learning experience for us. 
In spite of political and privatization issues PIA is working hard to maintain quality services. All it need is to train experienced staff with latest technology trends to preserve their quality services. Epoxy flooring is highly recommended for the kitchen. 

Group of B.S 3rd year students at flight kitchen

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The10th International Plastic, Printing & Packaging Industry Exhibition 2014

The 10th International Plastic, Printing & Packaging industry exhibition concluded today. Concurring event of 3P Plas Print Pack Pakistan is the 10th International Food + Technology Exhibition. The exhibition was business oriented though it provided good insight of current trends and technology used for food and non food packaging. More than 200 National and International companies were there to build and strengthen their business in Pakistan and rest of the world.

The showcase of tools and equipments was interesting for professionals who are eager to learn new technology. Live demonstration of packaging and plastic machinery was incredible.

Live production of plastic sac rolls

This event provided absolute opportunity to interact and network. These kinds of events are required to opens trade doors in Pakistan. The active participation of International players has proved there is a huge market for investors and buyers.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Bread Shelf Confusion

Should I pick brown or white bread?
Source: WikiCommons

Most of us face this confusion everyday at bread shelf. Health concious fellows may pick the brown one as natural brown or dark brown colour relates to the presence of whole grain; which is dense in nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals.

This colour impression is missleading. There is a diffrence between brown and bran or whole grain bread. Brown colour bread may contain caramalized suagr or some colouring agent giving characterstic colour of whole wheat bread. 

Whole grain bread is made up of whole wheat flour having grem, bran and starchy endosperm. Have a look at structure of whole grain.
Source: Jovinacookitalian

For white bread production refined flour is used. The refining process sift out nutrient rich bran and germ, leaving the starchy endosperm. White bread lacks nutrients of bran and germs like Fiber, vitamin E and B, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. Also, white bread and brown colour bread contains large proportion of high glycemic index carbohydrates. 

So next time when you are facing the bread shelf, read the ingredients list at the label to make the right choice. 

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Field Trip at Matco Rice Processing

Field trips are always exciting. They let us experience where and how science is applied. In the mid of December, I arranged a field trip for B.S 3rd year students of Department of Food Science andTechnology, University of Karachi for their Cereal Technology course at Matco Rice Processing (PVT) LTD.

Matco is one of the largest rice exporters in Pakistan. It is an ISO 9001:2000, HACCP, KOSHER, BRC (British Retail Consortium), WQA (WOOLWORTHS QUALITY ASSURANCE STANDARD) certified company. Falak rice is their flagship product. I know the product name has sparked your interest in this review!

Our Matco coordinators explained the major theories, methodologies, techniques are being used at Matco for rice processing. We observed how dehulled paddy is converted into white polished rice we purchase from market. We can say rice processing is cleaning of rice with different methods at every step. In pre-cleaning stage, the dust and impurities are removed including threads, papers. After pre-cleaning, rice moved into paddy separators which separates the paddy from the rice.  There are heavy de-stoners to remove small stones left during the pre-cleaning step.

Now, rice is fed into polishing machines in which it is whitened or polished. No chemicals are used for polishing but it is done through the use of water spray and air.

Length grading

After polishing, rice comes in thickness grader. Then, it passes through the length graders. Length graders separate the broken rice from head rice. There are holes inside the graders which hold the rice having no heads or are broken than the desired head of the grain.The rice processing machine also have color sorter, an emergent machine equipped with CCD or sensors which detects the difference in color. It processes the grain image and separates the grain on the basis of color. It can also detect the aged grains.

Stacked rice sacks
Now, the rice is ready to be packed. The packaged bags are checked through the metal detectors.The rice is fumigated before and after processing. The
Packages ready to despatch
number of fumigation cycles depends upon the final destination and required shelf life of the product.Quality is assured at every step to produce premium quality rice.

I am thankful to Mr. Kaukab Alam Siddiqui, the Q.A Manager at Matco Rice Processing and his team for making the exposure trip a great learning experience for us. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Rahber Moments

Hello team foodie,

Today's post is not about food safety or nutrition but healthy minds and happy society. I am sharing with you my experience of being a Rahber (mentor) of seven school girls. I have just completed Rahber cycle 14. It is the most inspiring, exciting and joyous experience of my life. Rahber progamme by The Citizens Foundation-TCF is life transforming not only for students but mentors as well. I joined this programme to pay back to the society but instead mentees helped me develop grateful attitude. In just seven saturdays, I have met two real life heros, many friends, re-lived my childhood, learned the recipe of life and loads more. 

Because pictures say more than words, I am sharing glimpse of my Rahber journey with mentees, co-mentors and coordinators.

Exposure trip at IBA
Recipe of life

Discussing the importance of balance in life with the help of birynai ingredients.

What else you can expect from a food technologist! :)
Pledge activity
Hands made gifts by my mentees

If you want to mentor young children in need of some guidance, register for Rahbar sessions today.


Photo credits: Mind Vision Artwork & NK Photography

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Halal Challenges in a Muslim Society

Muslims living in Non-Muslim regions have more understanding of Halal than Muslims in Islamic countries. In Muslim society people expect everything is Halal in their markets. People need to understand the concept of Halal is not limited to blood, pork and animal slaughtering methods. Now, the food preference trends have been changed. Read-to-eat, partially cooked and caned products are replacing fresh commodities. These products contain different additives like colour, flavor, gelling agents etc. In international market these ingredients are available from both Halal and Non-Halal (Haram) sources. We have food items in our local markets from all parts of the globe. These products may contain Non-Halal ingredients. 

In 2009, a book called Pig 05049 was published by Christien Meindertsma that proved pieces of one pig ended up in 185 separate products from toothpaste, Chewing gum to dough improver and desserts. The pig is considered Haram, or not to be consumed by Muslims. Apart from this, many additives are derived from insects and animal hides. Gelatin is the most common example of suspected additives. If it is derived from Halal animal which is slaughtered ritually then it is acceptable. 

This situation is alarming for Muslim consumers especially in Islamic states. They must adapt smart shopping, research and traceability skills. Every individual must read food labels before putting food items in the grocery cart. If Halal logo is present at the package then the product is safe for consumption. When the logo is absent one should read the ingredient list. But, absences of prohibited ingredients in the ingredients list do not assure Halal status of food. There might be traces of prohibited ingredients. Consumers should ask the product manufactures and suppliers to assure the Halal status of food.

Always remember, "We are what we eat".

Monday, 4 November 2013

Fat for Life

No Fat, Low Fat, Fat Free and like claims are the center of attraction for today’s health oriented community. There is a vision that fat is not good for health. It is the culprit behind increased rate of Obesity and Coronary Heart Diseases. While the truth is fat plays an important role to maintain regular body functions. Fat is the structural component of the cell, our body needs it for cell repairing and growth. Too low fat diet disturbs the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and antioxidants. Cutting fat too much can lead to constant hunger.  Fat makes an insulating layer beneath the skin to maintain body temperature. It also surrounds and protects our delicates organs. Fat servers many physical, chemical and nutritional functions in the food. Fat improves the flavor, provides creamy texture and glossy look to the food.  To maintain acceptable taste profile in fat free products high quantity of refined carbohydrates and sugar is being used which ultimately leads to obesity.

Instead of being fat phobic, one should monitor the quality and quantity of fat. Fat alone don’t cause any disorder in our body. It is our life style practices such as physical activity, smoking and uncontrolled consumption of fatty foods that leads to excessive fat accumulation.

For lifelong healthy heart always prefer liquid fat over fat that is solid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) & polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) keep heart healthy; they reduce serum cholesterol. Add no or less shortenings and hydrogenated fat in your plate. By the process of hydrogenation liquid fat is converted into solid fat at room temperature, during this process t here are chances of formation of Trans Fatty Acids. Avoiding fat completely is not the solution for obesity; it may cause other health problems in the long run. Understanding the difference between good and bad fat is the wise decision.