Solan: Indian Council of Agricultural Research has sanctioned a Rs. 285.39 lakh project to set up Food Testing Laboratory at Shoolini University.

The share of the government will be Rs. 163.20 lakh while the promoters will contribute partly for the remaining construction and recurring expenses for five years.

A newly established company, ‘Shoolini Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd.’, will operate the project as a commercial venture while Shoolini University will act as technical partner. The project is a first of its kind in the region where in an institute of higher learning will set up its own company for making it a business plan for income generation and provide a case study to students for running a business establishment.

The School of Bioengineering and Food Technology of Shoolini University will provide technical assistance to the lab, which will also have the provision of recruiting technical staff for its smooth functioning. The testing lab will conduct Food Quality Analysis under which nutritional analysis, testing for minerals, volatile and semi-volatile compounds and additives are carried out.

The facility will also be equipped to carry out Food Safety analysis under which tests are conducted for pesticides and herbicides residues, heavy metal residues and mycotoxins presence in food products. There will also be a provision for certification of organic farming for which all necessary national and international approvals will be sought.

Once fully established, the facility will become one stop destination for farmers and manufacturers from the state for getting their fruits and vegetables produce certified as per international standards.

Prof Dinesh Chatanta, Head School of Bioengineering and Food Technology and Principal Scientist of the Project stated that facility will facilitate manufacturers as now they won’t need to move to other state for Nutritional Labelling and testing. He said

“At present, there is no such facility in Himachal Pradesh and the manufacturers have to go to other states for Nutritional Labelling and testing. The chemical, microbiological and instrumental testing conducted by the Lab will provide certifications as per the standards of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI),”

Vice-Chancellor Prof PK Khosla said that the project would be a big leap for the university in realization of its internationalization efforts.