Mysuru, June 29: The pulav, dal curry and paneper among others served to you on board trains might just get tastier soon.
The Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), a wing of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), based out of this tourist city, inked a pact with the Indian Railway's catering wing recently.
According to DRDO officials, the Memorandum of Understanding would enable the Transfer of Technology of Retort Processed Ready to Eat (RTE) Food from DFRL to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
DFRL began the initiative for providing safe nutritious food to Indian Railway passengers in 2012. Raliways had conducted trials with RTE food including vegetable pulav, paneer curry, dal curry, roti and chicken curry in the last few years.
"We got the feedback from various circuits of Railways and also from passengers. We are happy that the responses were satisfactory," says a DFRL official.
DRDO says retort processing of foods in rigid containers and flexible packaging systems is the most acceptable form of food preservation with shelf life of more than 12 months under ambient conditions.
"The technology is essentially based on three important critical factors namely packaging systems, processing schedule and the requirement of product recipes," says an official.
DFRL has designed and developed semi-automatic bulk sterilizers (retort) with a capacity of 250 kgs and 750 kgs.
It offers many advantages such as cost-effective, (approximate cost Rs 20 lakh while the cost of similar imported retort is Rs 5crore), provision for rapid cooling, pneumatically-operated safety valves, provision to monitor heat transfer and penetration.
DFRL has been serving Indian armed forces, especially Indian Army for many years.
Officials say that the process schedule has been now optimised for various products such as vegetable pulav, vegetable biriyani, chicken biriyani, mutton biriyani, dal tatka, peas paneer curry, peas aloo curry and non-veg curries.
DFRL has transferred the technology to many Indian industries including MTR, ITC, Kohinoor, Tasty Bite, Chokhi Dhani foods and Haldiram to name a few.
During a recent visit to the DFRL facilities Dr A K Manocha, CMD, IRCTC inspected is said to have expressed satisfaction over new technologies being adopted by scientists.
"The IRCTC chief visited different food processing units and appreciated DFRL for the development of safe, convenience energy dense and nutritious food products for armed forces and civilian population," says an official.
DFRL Director Dr Rakesh Kumar Sharma explained various new initiatives to the IRCTC head.
Dr Manocha now wants to exploit the commercial potential of R&D work carried out by DFRL in the field of food product development to meet the varying ethnic food preference of passengers of Indian Railways.