12 Jan 2015

Brazil's diet guidelines & impact

On 5th October 2014, the Government of Brazil published the new Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population replacing the previous Guidelines issued in 2006. The formulation of these guidelines included multiple meetings involving researchers, health professionals, educators, and representatives of civil society organisations from all regions of Brazil. Earlier the draft Guidelines were subjected to public consultation, which resulted in thousands of responses, including from universities, public bodies, professional representative organisations, the private sector, and from health professionals and individual citizens.

The recommendations issued in the Guidelines are based on evidence from different sources, including experimental, clinical and population studies, and also on natural experiments implied in the selection and adaptation of dietary patterns evolved over many generations.

Definitions are for convenience

At a recent formal discussion of a PPP proposal, the attending resource persons (consultants from one of big 5), rather categorically reasoned that food processing is not a part of cold-chain business and hence such units were not considered in the project under debate. Hearing such blanket statements is a very distressing experience, particularly when long term plans are being developed with the overarching aim of public good. Such single-minded differentiation between cold-chain and processing units stems from an academic or research bent of mind, inexperienced in matters of business. 

Yet, if the aim is optimal utilisation of resources, with profitability and success in mind, then these narrow interpretations need to be shed and put aside, firmly. In the world of commerce, reason relates to align opportunities, maximise revenue, increase profitability options - common business sense.

Decisions, decisions...Pack-house play

A modern pack-house is the initiator of the cold-chain for fruits and vegetables, and a cold store the midway platform. A pack-house is effectively the intelligent nerve centre of cold-chain, and it inherently sets off multiple logistics or supply lines catering to various demand centres. At such a pack-house, after the harvest is sorted into marketable or value based lots, they are then directed into different elemental value chains, some to continue within the cold-chain and some without.

©Pawanexh Kohli

2 Jan 2015


  • Fresh fruit & vegetables are living tissue... even after harvest, they continue live and to breathe. This respiration produces carbon dioxide, water and heat and causes ageing or deterioration of quality.
  • The rate of ageing of the produce is largely determined by its rate of respiration. Respiration and physiological activities can be slowed to minimise the rate and effects of ageing but respiration can never be completely stopped or the produce (fruit or vegetable) dies. 
  • The rate of respiration is temperature dependent. Produce when kept cool will have a lower rate of respiration and lowered rate of deterioration.