Seeking to upgrade its catering operations, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on June 27 signed an agreement with the Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) in Mysuru for transfer of technology in food and beverage processing and packaging.
Under the agreement, DFRL, a Defence Ministry establishment under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will transfer the technical know-how and testing for quality assurance to IRCTC’s ready-to-eat packaged food for the rail travellers.
The Licensing Agreement for Transfer of Technology (ToT) was initialled by IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) AK Manocha and DFRL Director Rakesh Kumar Sharma, an IRCTC release said.
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“IRCTC has been taking several new initiatives to upgrade, professionalise and standardize its catering services on Indian Railways. The MoU will go a long way in providing quality and hygienic ready-to-eat packaged food to train travellers,” Manocha said.
DRDO is the pioneer in the country in the unique technology of food processing in ‘Retort’ amenable special kind of flexible polymeric films to achieve commercial sterility.
These products can be eaten straight out of the packs or can be warmed up by dipping the pack in hot water or keeping in hot air oven before being consumed. Such foods have better acceptability as compared to their canned counterparts.
“Human interface and thus possible contamination is minimised by using such technology,” the release said.
The trial for preparation of Ready to Eat (RTE) food with the assistance of DFRL technology has commenced and the rollout of 36,000 RTE packs of Vegetable Biryani, Rajma-Chawal, Jeera Rice, Tamrind Rice, Lemon Rice, Wheat Upma, Dal Rice and Chicken Biryani is planned in the first week of July, it said.
Besides the launch of RTE food, IRCTC is in talks with Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) for its assistance in food processing, packaging technology, training, menu planning and quality control, it said.