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Friday, July 13, 2012

Wheat flour spilt on road - something on 'atta'

Sure, you have know or have tasted – Aaashirwad; Annapurna; Nature Fresh; Shakti Bhog; Rajdhani; Nirav; Golden Temple and the like – all branded varieties of Wheat flour.  Though unbranded local variety could be available at much lower price, these Company marketed products have a steady market as more Indians have become increasingly wary about the food that they buy, thanks to the rising issues concerning the safety of food and the resultant food-borne diseases.  Wheat flour is  staple food of India, used in making chapatis , naan , paranthas ,roti etc .  From buying wheat and taking it to local flour millers for grinding, massive urbanization has ensured that people land up in supermarkets picking their favourite brand of wheet flour.   Many Corporate s like ITC , Hindustan Lever, Pillsbury have their own brands.  

Derbyshire is a county in the East Midlands of England.  It has Manchester, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire among others as its bordering counties

Often you would have seen wheat being transported in trucks – mostly in bulk as wheat and bagged cargo when it is in flour form.  One has to be most careful when it comes to transporting and insuring  food items – they have to be packed and transported with utmost care.  Being food items they can be susceptible to pilferage, can become moist and can get contaminated.  

In a country where millions starve for staple food, the problem is not that of shortage in production.  India’s stocks of food grains, including wheat, grew to 71.1m tonnes by 1 May 2012, well above the country's total storage capacity of 63m tonnes. Surpluses are being stored in the open and are in danger of spoilage.  India, the world's second-largest producer, dropped a three-year ban on wheat exports in September. Wheat output in 2011-12 is expected to reach a new record of 90.23m tonnes.  Quoting Food Minister KV Thomas it is stated that the Govt is not considering to expedite the export 2 million tonnes of wheat from FCI godowns as the government wants to come through with better realisation in the midst rising global prices.   The Minister is quoted as saying that there is no hurry to export and that we are waiting as the prices in the global market are firming up and getting better and better.

That is wholesome wheat that is being allowed to rotten in rat infested godowns and in open where non-season rain can play havoc adding to the storage and wind losses.  For the more elite, it is wheat flour, the powder made from the grinding of wheat used for human consumption. More wheat flour is produced than any other flour. Wheat varieties are called "clean," "white," or "brown" or "hard" if they have high gluten content, and they are called "soft" or "weak" flour if gluten content is low.

In terms of the parts of the grain used in flour—the endosperm or protein/starchy part, the germ or protein/vitamin-rich part, and the bran or fibre part—there are three general types of flour. White flour is made from the endosperm only. Whole grain orwholemeal flour is made from the entire grain, including bran, endosperm. and germ. A germ flour is made from the endosperm and germ, excluding the bran.

Locally, wheat flour is known as ‘atta’ – most atta is milled from the semi-hard wheat varieties, also known as durumwheat. Hard wheats have a high content of gluten (a protein composite that gives elasticity), so doughs made out of atta flour are strong and can be rolled out very thin.  Atta consist of all parts of wheat grain. It has bran, which contains fiber and other nutrients (vitamins B, iron, magnesium, and phytochemicals), endosperm, which contains carbohydrate, and germ, which consist of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fat, remain. Atta is considered healthier than Maida, which has endosperm only, thus rich in carbohydrate.

After harvesting, wheat usually undergoes further post-ripening, which consists of the high molecular weight substances congregating further with water being expelled. In this state, the cereal is highly susceptible to mold and must not as yet be shipped. However, if the water content of the cereal is relatively low, proper storage allows the sweat moisture to be absorbed by the air without the risk of mold growth.  In damp weather (rain, snow), the cargo must be protected from moisture, since wetting and extremely high relative humidities may lead to mold growth, spoilage and self-heating due to increased respiratory activity.  The shelf-life of the branded atta is relatively low and its free-flowing quality would get lost when moist.

Away at Derby the streets were white mess as 40 tonnes of flour was spilt across.  Police had to close the road and motorists were diverted around the spillage.  Local Council spent more than seven hours cleaning up the mess and the driver was summoned to court for having an insecure load

It was a truck laden with 40 tonnes of  flour – the  driver struggled to navigate a roundabout and his load ended up strewing the cargo across the A516 Derby Road, in Hilton, South Derbyshire in end June 2o12. A heavy goods vehicle and digger were brought in to remove the flour and pallets from the carriageway and workers washed down the road and used two sweeper machines to clean away the last bits of flour.   No one was injured but sure lot of quantity would have been lost in the process and how much could be salvaged.  Also there could be lot of contamination leading in loss of value besides the loss in weight

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
PS : the Derbyshire accident and photos are from article in


  1. good chappathi story - rao

  2. Really this is one of the informative and meaningful post. I really like it. I got something very new and interesting things from this post. Thank you for sharing it.

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