FSSAI has issued a notice on 23 October 2015 calling for claims suggestions, views and comments on proposed standards for Alcoholic Beverages from stakeholders within a period of 60 days from the above mentioned date. The FSSAI has set standards in these draft regulations for all distilled and un-distilled alcohol beverages including locally made spirits and also alcohol beverages made abroad.
All the various types of spirits and places where the different types of spirits and beverages are manufactured are defined in detail. Some standards are common to all the alcoholic beverages while others are specific to the particular type of alcohol beverage. Standards are given in five tables according to the types of alcohol beverage and manufacturing process.
The various alcoholic beverages have been defined under various heads like brandy, country spirits etc. and also defined under their specific types under the heads. Standards for gin, vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, liqueur/ alcoholic cordials, wine and beer have some common features like the kind of water to be used for dilution and the amount of ethyl alcohol content. FSSAI has also made it clear that no psychotropic substances or other drugs and even caffeine may be added to any of the alcoholic beverages as these are extremely dangerous to health.
The draft standards for alcoholic beverages are comprehensive and have listed all the possible kinds of alcohol beverages that can be found in India and the world. There are special standards for Low Alcoholic Beverages (Ready to Drink). There is a whole chapter devoted to standards for wine as more than thirty types of wines find mention in those standards including dry, sweet, fortified, table, vintage, champagne, carbonated, etc. to name just a handful from the very long list of the types of wines.
Standards for labelling alcoholic beverages as ‘mature’ have also been specified along with the material of the vessel in which these beverages need to be matured in like wooden, oak vats or barrels. Standards also specify that the various alcoholic beverages must all have their characteristic aroma and taste. However, some of the beverages may contain added flavours and colours as permitted under Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. For example Country Spirits are not permitted to contain any colour except caramel. To enhance the characteristic flavour of products like Rum natural/ nature identical/ artificial flavours as permitted under FSSAI regulations may be added.
The standards also mention what ingredients like the kind of fruit, cereals, flowers, berries, sugarcane, molasses and the kinds of fermented grains, etc. that can be used specifically in each of the beverages. Some beverages like Swedish Vodka, Irish Whisky Bourbon etc. need to be made in accordance with laws applicable in the countries that they are named for. There are specific labelling requirements for distilled beverages, wines and beer including mention of allergens like sulphur dioxide, etc.
Once these standards for alcoholic beverages are notified all States and UTs will be intimated so that they may suitably advise the various excise departments.
Click here to view the original notification.