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Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL)

The Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) came into being on December 28th, 1961, under the aegis of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ministry of Defence, at Mysore especially to cater to the varied food challenges of our Anny, Navy and Air Force and Para-military forces. This is the only laboratory, which is exclusively engaged in research and development in the field of Defence Food Science and Technology. Prior to the inception of DFRL, the laboratory functioned as a Food Group at Defence Science Laboratory, Delhi.

DFRL, through the dedicated efforts of its scientists and technologists, over the last 35 years, has been able to conserve, preserve, stabilize, design, fabricate and engineer a vast array of foods of Indian dietary which are not only shelf stable under all weather conditions but deliver adequate nutrition and calories to keep the morale of our service personnel high at all times.

DFRL has excellent infrastructure and is carrying out Research and Development work in the following areas:

  • Preservation and Packaging of Food Materials.

  • Fruits and Vegetables Technology.

  • Meat, Fish and Poultry and Freeze Drying Technology. Cereals, Pulses and Food Additives Technology

  • Food Microbiology

  • Food Biochemistry and Nutrition Evaluation. Contaminants & Safety Evaluation.

  • Training, Consultancy and Extension Services

Scientific and Technological Achievements

DFRL, over the years, has catered to the needs of Armed forces in respect of development of pack rations, preservation and packaging methods for long distance transportation of perishable products, evaluation of nutritional requirements of troops deployed under different climatic conditions, quality assurance methods for pack rations, establishment of commercial sources of supply of the products developed in the laboratory.

Wide ranges of foods have been developed which find immense application not only for Defence but also for Civilian use. These include fruit juices and fruit slices such as Pineapple, Mango, Grape, Orange, Mosambi, Banana, Apple, Guava and various vegetables and vegetable curries, Meat and Fish products. Meat Biryani, Mutton and Chicken soup powders, chapati, quick cooking Rice and Dhal, various legumes, Breakfast items, viz., Upma, Suji halwa composite foods such as vegetable pulav, Bisibele bath, Kichdi, Fruit bars, Calorie and Nutrients dense Food bars, Coconut water, yoghurt based preparations, Vermicelli kheer, etc. Based on these item, ration packs have been designed to meet specific needs. Many of these products can find immense applications in institutional catering and organised feeding programmes such as those undertaken by Railways, Airlines, Educational Institutions, Hospitals etc.

DFRL has pioneered the R&D work in the field of thermal preservation of foods in flexible pouches.The processing equipments and materials have been indigenously designed. Extensive work has been carried out in standardising the processing conditions for different types of vegetarian and meat based products.

The technical know-how has been transferred to leading entrepreneurs like MTR, lTC, ADF and others. This technology has been successfully used for the development of various ration components.

Process, Products and Technology

Design and development of operational pack ration is one of the charter of duties of DFRL. The laboratory has been successful in the development of full meal Compo pack ration, supplementary Compo pack ration, Meals-Ready-to-Eat ration for Naval commandos and Emergency cum Survival rations or Army, Navy and Air Force.

Many of DFRL foods have brought succour to numerous unfortunate ones who were victims of nature's fury during earthquakes and cyclones. DFRL rations have been a cause for relief and smile during such disaster amelioration programmes.

DFRL is also credited with designing and supplying pack rations during various specialised expeditions and critical missions such as Antarctica Expedition, Mountaineering Expeditions (Kanchenjunga, Nanda Devi and Mount Everest), Rowing Expedition etc. The laboratory has the unique distinction of designing foods for Indian Space Mission.

DFRL at the Helm of Technology Transfer - Spin off Benefits to Industry

Though the strategic, logistic and operational food supply needs of our Services have been paramount behind the development of
various foods and rations by DFRL, many of the DFRL products are eminently suitable for the civilian and export markets as well. The processed food market in India is undergoing churning and metamorphosis of late and the size of this market is burgeoning by the day mainly because of the changing lifestyle, entry of educated housewives into jobs, growing affluence of middle class, increasing aversion to traditional kitchen drudgery, carving to taste the new, etc.

All the above plus many more reasons are creating a cry for traditional Indian foods in convenience pack forms. DFRL food products and process technologies have immense potential in creating a niche market for processed foods of Indian dietary on the lines of well-developed Western countries. The technologies in great demand are retort processed foods and tender coconut water in sachets.

DFRL has devised a simple scheme, bereft of procedural wrangles, for the demonstration and transfer of technological knowhow encompassing various products and service to benefit those entrepreneurs who are keen to introduce highly popular ration packs in the civilian market. Many of the DFRL processes and technologies are eminently suitable and adaptable to cottage scale or small-scale industry level operations.

Human Resource Development

DFRL is recognised by many Universities as Center for advanced research leading to M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in the field of Food Science and Technology, Biochemistry, Chemistry and Microbiology. DFRL conducts a 10-month Postgraduate Diploma Course in Food Analysis and Quality Assurance since 1990. The course is recognised by the University of Mysore. The aim of the course is to expose and update the knowledge of the candidates in analytical techniques, storages, preservation and transport practices. The course is expected to meet the trained manpower requirement of the nascent food industries for their quality assurance services.

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