Friday, August 30, 2013


Explosive growth of organic food industry owes largely to the rising concerns of consumers regarding the safety of products main stream food industry. In spite of the fact that organic foods cost 50-100% more than commercial alternatives, people seem to be willing to patronize them with the firm belief that their kith and kin are protected. Why should the consumers be worried so much about food products from the organized processing industry? The reasons are not far to seek. Most importantly the agriculture is dependent largely on heavy use of chemical crop protectants, most of them considered toxic to human beings even in small concentrations found as residues on the harvested crops. More recently another dimension has been added to the safety concerns of the people by the large scale production of genetically modified foods and their wide spread marketing without the consumer ever knowing about this transgression of their right to know what they are eating. Unfortunately in countries like the US more than 80% of the foods on the shelves of most markets contain GMO ingredients with no indication about their presence on the front of the pack label!

How serious is the issue of safety of GMO foods now omnipotent in the US market and in a few other countries? It will be an understatement of one says that GMO foods do pose serious problems of safety as adequate data are still not generated to conclusively prove that they are absolutely safe. If so why is that the safety authorities in countries like the US are not clamping down on the industry, giving them a free rein in the market? The guess is that they are in collusion with the GMO lobby for considerations other than the welfare of their citizens! Imagine the clout of this lobby which pumped so much money for defeating a ballot initiative in California that would have mandated compulsory labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients, that too after 80% of the population there wanted compulsory labeling! Note that people are not asking for banning the GMO foods but just make the industry to declare that they are present in the products offered!

Now that increasing evidence is accumulating regarding the uncertain safety credentials of GMO foods, more and more people are demanding from the industry to give them GMO free products. It is a sad situation in the US where the current President promised to make the industry declare on the label presence of GMO ingredients but promptly reneged on his solemn assurances after the election. If to day the anti GMO lobby has some clout it is due to the relentless campaign by a few voluntary organizations around the world. It is comical to see that the governments do not insist on declaration of GMO ingredients while not allowing those making products without GMO to declare the same on the labels of their products! The relentless pressure by people's organizations is making more and more people aware of the unnatural nature of genetically fiddled foods. 

It is shocking that about 90 percent or more of four major crops — corn, soybeans, canola and sugar beets  in the US are grown from genetically engineered seeds. This poses another challenge to the user industry to source non-GMO counterparts to replace the GMO version in their product mix. Of course there is a limited production base for conventional varieties but a significant portion of the conventional varieties of those crops is exported while the organic food industry has cornered the rest. Besides, the livestock industry is reported to be increasing its demand for non-GMO crops to meet growing demand among consumers for eggs and meats sourced from animals that have never eaten genetically modified feeds. The magnitude of revulsion to GMO foods can be gauged by the recent massive protests in 436 cities in 52 countries rallying against the monopolist company that supplies GMO seeds all over the world! 

Another worrying factor is the impact of large scale shift of consumers from GMO foods to conventional ones on the price front. According to knowledgeable sources, the prices of non GMO version of Corn is commanding a premium price of almost 75-100% in the market and if the supply restraints become more acute the prices can further increase in the near future. Same applies to other crops also and the US is facing a massive dilemma in tackling this issue as it is difficult to grow conventional natural crops in fields which have been cultivating GMO crops. Recent finding of GMO wheat in a field in Midwest America was traced to a GMO wheat trial taken almost a decade ago by the GMO industry and is it not shocking that even after 10 years traces pf GMO crop remained raising enormous worries about the consequences of increased consumer resistance against GMO crops. Will the Americans be forced to eat GMO foods under such a situation even if labeling becomes mandatory as otherwise it will be starvation for them? 

Another dimension to this problem after the protests have gained a critical mass is who will vouchsafe the authenticity of non GMO crops. The policy makers and administrators do not seem to be capable of stemming this tide in favor of compulsory labeling. If so what logistical problem is going to arise once labeling is made mandatory? Most critical requirement will be to test foods for the presence of GMO ingredients and provide credible certification to those willing to avoid their use. Testing requires sophisticated facilities and experienced bio analysts both being in short supply. Probably the GMO lobby may be laughing all the way to their banks after putting the country in such a fix. It is time the US government addresses this concern and establish the much needed testing and certification facilities sooner than later.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


There are no two opinions that milk is a complete food containing practically every nutrient required for normal health. Its protein, Casein (3.5%) is one of the highest quality nutrients, next only to egg and meat while milk is one of the richest sources of Calcium, an essential building material for strong bones ( about 120 mg per 100 ml). Besides milk is also a good source of Vitamins like A, B6, B12, C,K,D,K, E, Thiamine, Niacin, Biotin, Riboflavin, Folates and Pantothenic acid. Ideally regular consumption of about 250 ml equivalent of milk a day can be expected to boost the nutritive value of the daily diet very significantly. Looking from the milk production landscape and availability for consumption, average Indian is supposed to be consuming 276 ml of milk per day which is more than what is recommended. If this is so Indians can be considered healthy. But what is the ground reality?

It is true India is the top milk producing country in the world to day with the production estimated around 130 million tons which is anticipated to go up to 170 million tons by the year 2020. The per capita availability figure hides more than what it reveals because in a state like Punjab with affluent population almost gulping a liter of milk per person a day, the same falls precipitously in few other states dropping to almost to 100 ml per day per capita. Even here well to do population with high income consume much higher quantity while poor and low income people cannot afford to buy the recommended minimum quantity due to economic compulsions. This is a classical case of low consumption among plenty! 

The operation flood program and the white revolution ushered in by late Dr V.Kurien provided the foundation for producing more than that required through technological, social and management wonders but unless the purchasing power of people is increased the milk cannot reach those who really deserve, suffering from utter malnutrition and morbidity. With the processing capacity of the cooperative dairies all over the country reaching all time high, each state milk federation is flush with milk, not knowing what to do with the surplus. To some extent fluid milk is converted into skimmed milk powder (SMP) with long life and limited market off take has created a situation where these federations are holding large stocks of SMP not knowing what to do with it. A state like Karnataka which gives Rs 4 per liter to the producer as monetary incentive for increased production has found a new way to "dispose off" the surplus milk by being "magnanimous" in buying the same for supply to school kids in government and aided schools studying from class I to X and also to Anganwadi centers to feed children between the ages 3 and 6 years. A win-win situation indeed!

According to the reports appearing in the media government has launched its ambitious Ksheera Bhagya scheme on 1 August this year under which each school attending kid is given in the morning before the start of the school 150 ml of milk procured from the nearest cooperative dairy or 20 gm of SMP for reconstitution with hot water (with no sugar) for drinking. Besides Anganwadis are supposed to be provided with adequate quantity of SMP at the rate of 15 gm per child for admixing with hot water before feeding them. According to some sources in the government total requirement of milk would be around 7-8 lakh liters per day out of which 50% could be in fluid form, rest being SMP. Measured by any yardstick this is a mammoth welfare scheme that will benefit 65 lakh school going children and 35 lakh beneficiaries in Anganwadi Centers. State administration has even thought of children below 3 years to whom milk is planned to be delivered to their homes! 

Financial out go on the above account for the government is estimated to be of the order of about Rs 1500 crore annually. For a government that wants to uplift the nutritional status of the children of the state the above amount may not be very high but what bothers many observers is the logistics involved in delivering the promised food in safe condition to the beneficiaries in time and potential for hijacking the much valued milk and milk powder for the purpose other than that is intended. Also questionable is the extent of impact such a project can create on the health of the children. According to the nutritional guidelines of ICMR, an average consumer is supposed to be taking about 250 gm of milk products every day as fluid milk and curd which is equivalent to about 30 gm of powder. Growing children will need more considering their active growth phase and it may be too much to expect any thing positive coming out of this experiment. Supplying milk three times a week is also not a good idea as this will provide a disincentive for school kids to absent themselves on days when milk is not provided. However one should not prejudge this scheme and critics must wait for at least an year before drawing their daggers against this populist scheme.

A serious worrying factor is whether safe potable water will be available in all the schools for reconstitution purpose. If not, this scheme could be an invitation for disaster as it happened in Bihar where 23 innocent kids had to loose their lives because of poison contaminated midday meals served to them. Similarly SMP does not have indefinite shelf life and if they are not stored properly they can be affected by infestation with insects compromising its safety. One of the posers to the government of Karnataka was whether all children will drink plain milk without sugar as making kids drink milk is a problem in almost all households world over. With exposure to products like Horlicks, Boost, Bournvita etc will the kids agree to drink just plain milk? It is indeed a million dollar uncertainty that has to be expected. 

Another poser is whether all the kids are to be covered as many of them must be coming from reasonably well to do families having the wherewithal to access milk daily. An alternative could be to segregate children based on their weight-height parameters and health status and offering a higher quantity every day to only those really deserving. This can stretch the resources a little more with possibility of higher impact within a short span of time. An uncertainty that may face the scheme is whether this is going to be a permanent feature of the state policy or just a short term program to tide over the immediate milk glut being experienced in the state. With general election not very far away there is a possibility that the Ksheera Bhagya scheme may face the axe once the elections are over!    

Sunday, August 18, 2013


In a country where every food material sold in the market has suspect safety credentials, the citizens are left wondering where to go or what to do to ensure that they get the right quality of food with assured safety to their health. With a government proving to be a helpless spectator in this sordid drama, private traders are having a swell time amassing fortunes at the expense of the health of citizens. FSSAI, the much touted safety agency in the country comfortably ensconced in Delhi and a highly dysfunctional implementation system at the state level throwing up its hands due to inadequate infrastructure, personnel and wide spread corruption make sure that traders and the manufacturing industry get away with murder. Added to this, the judicial system, working at a snail's pace, help the retailers and food handlers buy time in terms of decades even if they are indicted eventually. 

It is against this background one has to view the recent proclamation from Delhi by a group of entrepreneurs that they would set up a dedicated "Milk City" that could ensure equity to the producer as well as the consumer. Though this is difficult to believe considering the enormous odds they face, concept wise it can be a win-win situation. One may recall the vision with which the late Dr Verghese Kurien led the White Revolution which catapulted India into international light and made this country the top milk producing player in the world. While the NDDB efforts deserve full praise for its farmer friendly policies, there is a feeling that consumer is left behind in this high stake marketing game. To day there is practically no difference between the prices of milk products sold by the private industry and that charged by the milk cooperatives. There is no dispute that farmers who form the backbone of country's food security must be rewarded amply but creating a niche farmer group with extraordinarily high income at the expense of the consumer is a questionable strategy. This is what is happening in the country with milk prices soaring each year and surplus production is claimed, probably because high prices invariably restrict milk consumption while excluding many from buying this precious healthy food.

On one hand most cooperative milk federations in the states are reporting collection of milk beyond their capacity to process and sell while on the other hand hungry children in low income families are denied this protective food in many parts of the country. Recent news report that the state milk federation in Andhra Pradesh is holding huge stocks of milk powder without being able to sell them is disturbing indeed. Adding to this unfortunate situation is the inability of the Federation to strike a deal with the applied nutrition program authorities in the state in supplying the powder to the vulnerable segment of the population on account of the price at which its stock has to be disposed off. Probably every one seems to be forgetting the reality that food has a limited life, with each passing day causing irreversible quality damage. One wonders whether these powerful federations will end up like the FCI which finds itself in a precarious position to protect the food grains it procures leaving significant quantities to rot in the open!    

If the media reports are to be believed a group of private milk dealers from the National Capital Region (NCR) around Delhi are planning to take up a project for setting up a dedicated milk producing cum processing facility in the region to be called a "Milk City" (outside the city precincts) that is capable of handling about 1000 to 250000 liters of milk per day to consumers in the Delhi Metropolitan area in direct competition with the Mother Diary and private milk suppliers. Their USP is supposed to be lower prices charged for their fluid milk compared to that charged by others. It is true that there is widely perceived feeling that cooperatives and corporations are currently fleecing both the farmers and consumers, by purchasing milk at low prices from farmers and then selling it at high rates to consumers. The high profit margins gained by these current players due to helplessness of the consumer sought to be neutralized by the new venture. How this can be achieved remains to be seen as no one can expect any industry to work like a charitable organization and profits are the drive engine that ensures growth for the industry. Still if these idealistic entrepreneurs are able to bring in such a revolution, that too in Delhi, it may have ripple effect heralding another white revolution in the country in a different way, viz an equitable way.

According to the blueprint unveiled by the Milk City promoters, the brand new facility would come up on 300 acres of land in Gurgaon, and the development model will be similar to that of NDDB, the major difference being that it will be an integrated facility encompassing both production and processing. In contrast NDDB model is based on widely dispersed production centers in villages from where milk is ferried to the centralized facility for processing. It is mind boggling to imagine about 100,000 cattle being housed in one place with about 8,600 milkmen from areas adjoining Delhi like the districts of Jhunjhunu and Alwar (Rajasthan) and Mewat (Haryana), having registered with the milk city. It is some what far fetched to believe that a cattle population of 1 lakh heads can deliver only 10-25000 liters a day and the concept needs more clarification on this issue. Rearing so many cattle in one place presents many logistical problems which one hopes the organizers have taken into consideration. Also not clear is what spin off projects are planned that can run concurrently with milk production program. Probably one lakh cattle can generate sufficient methane gas to meet the power needs of a small city! The view of the Government on this project is not yet clear as it involves migration of thousands rural families to Delhi region presenting some socio-cultural problems.

There is also confusion regarding delivery of milk to the consumers and it may not be practical to imagine that residents' associations will come forward to the milk city for taking up the distribution responsibility. Ultimately there is the possibility that the new venture may also become identical to the current players with almost the same distribution infrastructure as these players have! Whether the promised cheap milk will remain a mirage remains to be seen However if this concept really works as being propounded by the Delhi 'Milk City' dreamers, other major cities also should think of such mega projects near by for meeting the milk needs of their population at affordable prices..


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


One of the unanswered questions that still haunts humanity is whether high consumption of sugar can contribute to diabetic condition or intolerance of sugar is an aftermath of diabetes! It is well known that diabetes disease presents one with a condition where adequate insulin secretion becomes a casualty due to some  changes in the working of pancreatic gland or the cells develop insulin insensitivity (resistance) because of over weight and other afflictions. Many people develop diabetes after the age of 45 years manly because of unhealthy food eating habits and as age progresses the severity of the  disease increases. India is considered the diabetic capital of the world with highest recorded cases of diabetics living in the country. Out of 280 million diabetics living in different countries, more than 40 million are in India. By 2030 it is predicted that one in every five diabetic persons in the world would be an Indian! A dubious distinction indeed!

The most dreaded two words that can spell potential threat to life are "Metabolic Syndrome" that develops slowly without the victims not even being aware of it. Many diabetics are not diagnosed properly and with treatment being delayed the condition becomes worse with passage of time. It is universally acknowledged that a glucose level of 126 mg per deciliter in the blood after a twelve hour fasting period or 200 mg per deciliter in two hours after ingestion of 75 gm of glucose or a value of 6.5 or more for the glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) can confirm diabetes in a person. Metabolic syndrome is manifested by a cluster of factors involving abnormal fats (Dyslipidemia), high blood pressure, obesity and abnormal glucose levels in the blood, The symptoms include polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirstiness) and polyphagia (increased hunger). With so much information in the public domain, why so many people fail to check their health regularly for diabetes cannot be easily understood. Either people do not visit their family doctors regularly or doctors' advice is ignored without realizing the grave consequences of serious diabetic condition that can eventually end up by those affected becoming blind or their legs amputated due to gangrene.  

Of all the reasons cited as critical for developing diabetes, the most logical one is lack of exercise which can make pancreas somewhat dysfunctional and consequently cause adverse impact on insulin production. Modern society seems to be ignoring this golden truth and continue to lead sedentary type of lives exacerbating the situation and invite diabetes to take hold of their life. A pertinent question which is often posed relates to the relatively diabetes free society during olden days of our ancestors though they consumed enormous amounts of sugar daily. Look at the range of sweetmeats made and consumed in India and practically every product has sugar beyond 40%! Probably the secret lies in the rigorous working style of people hundred years ago when comfort and leisure were practically unknown and more the physical work out less is the chance for diseases like diabetics to develop. To day with WiFi, broadband, laptops, PCs, Notebooks, iPads and a variety of Gizmos taking hold of the lives of people, there is very little time available for real physical exertion regularly. Naturally the society cannot afford to complain but to suffer the consequences.

What about the role of food technology in this sordid transformation of a vibrant society of yesteryear into a zombie like population, controlled more by electronic, electrical and mechanical gadgets rather than the will power and muscle power of man? Discovery of many technologies like husking, debranning, degerming, polishing, fine grinding, juice extraction and declouding, precooking and packing, extrusion cooking, bread making with refined flours etc seem to have made the human digestion system almost redundant with the result that the pace and efficiency with which sugar is absorbed by the blood increase very significantly resulting in rapid blood sugar build up, not considered healthy. These innovations by food technologists deplete almost every desirable nutrient present in natural food, most critical being the dietary fiber. For example the Indian traditional bread made from whole grains like wheat, jowar and other grains is far superior to the refined flour based western bread loaves from nutritional angle. There are hundreds of such examples where man's superior intelligence has destroyed good foods and created a whole panorama of junk foods with empty calories! 

It is true that there are many modern day medicines to deal with diabetes and diabetics live long if the disease is managed with right medicine, exercise and diet control. Insulin injection has been simplified and delivery mechanism improved beyond recognition. There are many foods supposed to have hypoglycemic effect including bitter gourd, fenugreek and a host of others but how far these can be harnessed into a diet regime and whether Allopathic medicines can altogether be avoided is a question begging for an answer. Similarly alternate medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and others also have their own treatment regimes claimed to be effective but very few people rely on these alternatives falling back on Allopathic medicines which brings quick results.   

Against such a background comes the news that a radically new delivery system for insulin has been developed that could be very promising and easy to manage. Scientists claim to be pursuing a new line of research to tap the potential of nano technology to deliver insulin into the body for release only when the blood glucose crosses a certain threshold. This enables the body to maintain normal blood sugar levels for more than a week, at least in animal-based laboratory tests. This so called 'Smart" system is designed to do away with the current cumbersome procedure involving monitoring of the blood sugar level several times a day to decide on the number of units of insulin to be injected. According to these scientists, after testing this technology in mice it was confirmed that just one injection was able to maintain blood sugar levels in the normal range for up to 10 days.  The injectable nano-network is composed of a mixture containing nano particles with a solid core of insulin, modified dextran and glucose oxidase enzymes.  When the enzymes are exposed to high glucose levels they effectively convert glucose into gluconic acid, which breaks down the modified dextran and releases the insulin. The insulin then brings the glucose levels under control. The gluconic acid and dextran are fully biocompatible and dissolve in the body.  Each of these nanoparticle cores is given either a positively charged or negatively charged biocompatible coating.  The positively charged coatings are made of chitosan extracted from shrimp shells, while the negatively charged coatings are made of alginate derived from seaweed. 

If these claims are true, is the day far off when man can indulge in eating all types of foods to his heart's content and still avoid the harsh repercussions that follow binge eating under normal conditions? What should be kept in mind is that such over eating may not exacerbate the diabetes but it can definitely lead to over weight and obesity and the consequences there of. Recent revelations by scientists at Leeds University that hyperglycemia can, in the long term, adversely affect the cognitive behavior in humans is indeed alarming. Ideally moderate eating, reasonable exercise and cutting down on sugar, fat and salt may the best way to lead a healthy life and man is better of avoiding regular intake of medicines, if possible, for dealing with some of the life style disorders that commonly afflict him to day.


Saturday, August 3, 2013


Searching for ways and means to stay disease free and live long, man spares no efforts and such motivation brings in innovations which can help in alleviating many human miseries. But in such an hectic pursuit, can those, who are fortunate enough to have whatever they want, ignore other less fortunate co-inhabitants in this planet who strive hard to have access to minimum food that can keep their body and soul together? Or is it too much to expect such humane feelings from them, hardened as they are, because they are used to such an inequitable environment with hardly any emotion or thoughts for their unlucky brethren? Rich countries like America, Canada, the EU and a few others do donate food as well as cash to starving people in many poor countries but such efforts do not achieve much though it does bring temporary solace and succor to millions of people. 

How many people can recall the sudden emergence of Oats a couple of decades ago as a super health grain with unlimited virtues and to day it provides billions of dollars of business to a few multinational food companies capitalizing on the supposed benefits from consuming this grain. Interestingly oats when harvested and grains separated from the chaff is a tough grain and it takes hours of cooking to make it edible. The raw oats indeed has a low Glycemic Index (GI) which makes it ideal for those having diabetes or over weight problem. See what has happened to this commodity over a period of time with half a dozen processed products launched by the industry with characteristics like quick cooking, artificial flavors, vegetable and fruit fortified etc. Presence of fruit and vegetables is indeed welcome but what quantities are added is more important. According to available data they do not even constitute 5% of the final product raising the inconvenient question whether they are really relevant at all! It is another matter that in the name of value addition the prices charged for these products became almost scandalous! Oats which horses used to consume has become a rare component of horse feed these days with Soy and Corn replacing it every where. 

It was not long ago that Quinoa, labeled a wonder grain with 3000 year of history behind it, came on the scene and the whole health "lobby" started singing on the remarkable nutritive qualities of this grain. There is no dispute on this count because Quinoa is a grain par excellence in terms of nutrition and human health. This grain became a darling of the health faddists because of its good quality protein, high dietary fiber, high potassium and magnesium besides being reasonably low in glycemic index value. But the limited global production estimated at about 80000 tons per year, coming mainly from Peru and Bolivia made it highly expensive, almost $ 3-8 per kg, unaffordable to many. Still Quinoa is still preferred by many health conscious consumers because of its better nutritional value compared to many other grains. A special quality of Quinoa is that it sprouts rapidly in 2-4 hours compared to minimum 12 hours taken by other grains and can be conveniently used in cold salads. On the flip side Quinoa has a bitter saponin coating which needs to be removed through processing.

Latest to emerge in the healthscape is the so called super grain "Chea", an ancient crop with roots in South American countries of Mexico and Guatemala because of its high Omega- 3 fatty acids, even comparable to fish. The small seeds contain about 25-30% extractable oil, out of which 55% is alpha linolenic acid, a nutritionally important Omega-3 acid which gets converted to the long chain Omega-3 acid Eicosopentaenoic acid (EPA). EPA is health wise important as it has proven to have cardioprotective properties in humans preventing heart attacks.  From its earlier incarnation a few years ago as can ornamental plant Chia has become one of the most sought after health grains globally. Its production is very limited confined to countries like Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Australia and Guatemala. A one ounce serving of Chia provides 9 gm of fat, 11 gm of Dietary Fiber, 4 gm of protein, low Sodium of 5 mg and 1 gm minerals.   

According to some reports whole and ground Chia seeds are being added to fruit drinks, snack foods and cereals, besides being offered as an ingredient for incorporation in baked goods like cookies and for sprinkling on yogurt preparations. It also has high levels of oxy radical bursting antioxidants. Many major food industry giants have started marketing Chia containing food products which adore the shelves of many major super markets. Probably more than 100 Chia based products are currently being offered in the US markets. Its competitor Flax seed which had a dream run earlier because of its high unsaturated fatty acid content including Omega-3 acids seems to be getting sidelined with Chia being preferred by the consumers because of its stability and bland taste suitable for incorporation in most foods without affecting their original flavor. 

Many experts believe that gram for gram, Chia seed is a powerful source of Omega-3s, beating such traditional sources like salmon, contains more calcium than milk, more fiber than all-bran cereal and more antioxidants than blueberries. Because of its high soluble fiber content, Chia seed forms a gel that slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, binds it to toxins in the digestive system and helps eliminate waste. Chia contains one of the highest mixed levels of the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids known in nature with a total of 33 wt/wt % oil content in the seed at a very favorable and heart healthy 33:1 ratio of ALA to LA, the perfect counterbalance to the high omega-6 content in Western diet while sporting only 3% saturated and 7% monounsaturated fats. Confirmation of the efficient metabolic conversion of ALA to heart healthy EPA and brain healthy DHA in short studies in man and, even more impressively, in longer term studies, has recently emerged. Studies unequivocally show both ALA's and its metabolic cascade product, EPA's, positive effects on heart health in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease events in people.

Among all these uphoria Sociologists warn that the high demand pull for grains like Quinoa and Chia is causing a sea change in the diets of local populations in South America causing misery and health disorders among them. Because of the high price it fetches most of the grains grown in these poor countries are exported to the US for consumption by wealthy families there with very little available for local consumption. Consequently their diets are increasingly being based on Maze which is not considered a very nutritious cereal by health experts. Unfortunately very little research inputs are directed towards improving the technology of Chia production and unless this happens healthy grains like Quinoa and Chia are likely to be in short supply with more and more people chasing the limited quantity that is available.