In news: The Himalayan yak has been accepted as a food animal by the scientific panel of Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), after recommendation from Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD).
- Help check the decline in the population by making it a part of the conventional milk and meat industry.
- Help farmers rear the yak economically and open several vistas of economic benefits for both farmers and food processors.
About the Himalayan Yak:
- It is a high-altitude bovine animal.
- IUCN : Vulnerable
- The yak plays a multidimensional socio-cultural-economic role for the pastoral nomads who rear it mainly for earning their nutritional and livelihood security due to the lack of other agricultural activity in the higher reaches of the Himalayan region where it is difficult for animals except the yak to survive
- Yaks are traditionally reared under a transhumance system which is primitive, unorganised and full of hardship.
- The yak population in the country has been decreasing at an alarming rate
- According to a census carried out in 2019, India has some 58,000 yaks – a drop of about 25% from the last livestock census conducted in 2012.
- It has become a major cause of concern for animal genetic diversity
- It could be attributed to less remuneration from the bovid, discouraging the younger generations from continuing with nomadic yak rearing.
- It is mainly because yak milk and meat are not a part of the conventional dairy and meat industry, their sale is limited to local consumers.
- The commercialisation of yak milk and meat products will lead to entrepreneurship development. Hence, yak is included as a food producing (milk and meat) animal in the Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011.
- Nutrient-loaded: yak milk is highly nutritious, rich in fat, contains essential minerals and has medicinal values.
- yak milk contains 78-82% water, 7.5-8.5% fat, 4.9-5.3% protein, 4.5-5.0% lactose and 12.3-13.4% solids-not-fat.
- products from yak milk are churkum, churpi, ghee and paneer.
- Yak meat is known to be lean.
- contains 74.8% moisture, 21.7% protein, 1.5% crude fat and 1.2% ash.
- NRC-Yak has developed a semi-intensive model of yak-rearing in which yaks are maintained in an open area as well as in paddock round the year.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
- It is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act).
- The Act aims to establish a single reference point for all matters relating to food safety and standards, by moving from multi- level, multi-departmental control to a single line of command.
- Ministry: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
- It comprises a Chairperson and twenty-two members out of which one – third are to be women. The Chairperson of FSSAI is appointed by the Central Government.
- The primary responsibility for enforcement is largely with the State Food Safety Commissioners.
Source: The Hindu