TTD rejects 42 truckloads of ghee for failing to meet standards

Over the past year, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the custodian of Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirupati, has rejected 42 truckloads of cow ghee due to their failure to meet the temple\’s stringent quality standards. Each truckload, carrying up to 18 tonnes of ghee, undergoes a thorough evaluation by a multi-disciplinary committee comprising experts from various wings of the temple body, including health, vigilance, engineering, and a senior chemist from the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI).

P Murali Krishna, the general manager of procurement at TTD, shared that the rejected ghee shipments spanned from July 22, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

To ensure quality, the trucks transporting clarified butter are required to maintain a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius. Several factors are assessed, such as moisture percentage by weight, butyro refractometer reading at 40 degrees Celsius, free fatty acids as a percentage of oleic acid, and minimum R M Value. Additionally, tests for Baudouin, mineral oil, foreign colors, melting point, and rancidity are conducted at TTD\’s Water and Food Analysis Laboratory using samples received from the marketing godown.

Before being awarded the tenders, dairy experts thoroughly audit prospective suppliers\’ plants and samples in nationally accredited laboratories. Only after passing all the necessary tests and meeting the uncompromising quality standards, the ghee truckloads are allowed into the premises.

Ghee has various uses within the temple, including being an essential ingredient in the famous Tirupati laddu and for food preparations like annaprasadam and annadanam. Moreover, it is supplied through trucks to the main Tirumala and Tiruchanooru temples, while other recipients receive it in 15 kg tins, including some temples in other districts. Additionally, the same ghee is utilized for the ritual of deeparadhana, which involves lighting lamps in TTD temples.

Recently, the quality of ghee procured by TTD has been a topic of importance, as Bheema Naik, the chairman of Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) producing Nandini brand milk, alleged that the temple body was obtaining low-quality ghee. In response, TTD executive officer A V Dharma Reddy clarified that the temple only procures ghee from suppliers who pass rigorous e-tender processes and meet both the high-quality standards and the least cost (L1 bidder) criteria. He also dismissed Naik\’s claims, pointing out that KMF had not qualified as an L1 bidder and had supplied ghee only once in the past 20 years, even failing to deliver the consignment on time.

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