Through a notification dated 29 June 2016 the FSSAI has proposed changes in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 in the regulation dealing with alcoholic beverages including alcohol free and low alcoholic beverages. The proposed changes are related to the use of additives/enzymes/processing aids for use in category 14.2 of the food system. The FSSAI has also invited comments and suggestions from WTO member countries and other stakeholders within a period of 30 days from the date of the notification. The FSSAI has also proposed the limits for various additives for alcoholic beverages, including wine and other beverages that fall in this category. The additives, enzymes and processing aids are in alignment with international standards.
The FSSAI has prescribed (Proposed) a new list of additives or enzymes which can be used for production of grape wine in addition to those already existing in the regulations. The list includes the names of the food additives and the recommended limits in which they can be used in grape wines. These include Malic Acid DL-, Ascorbic Acid L-, Citric Acid. Tartaric Acid L(+), Lactic Acid, Gum Arabic, Tannins, Metatartaric Acid, Caramel (plain), Carboxymethyl-Cellulose Potassium Bicarbonate, Calcium carbonate etc.
- In this category some additives like Caramel plain is permitted to be used only for liqueur wines
- Carboxymethyl-Cellulose, ammonium sulphate, Diammonium Diphosphate for white and sparkling wines.
- If the wines contain proteins of plant origin extracted from wheat, peas and potatoes then they must largely contain proteins and an have minor constituents of carbohydrates, fats and minerals intended for human consumption.
- If edible gelatine or Isinglass or fish glue is used as to aid processing of these wines then there use must be declared on the labels.
The second lot of changes has been proposed in the food additives used in distilled spirituous beverages category containing more than 15% alcohol. Besides the additives already existing in the regulations in this category FSSAI has permitted the use of the following at GMP
- Caramel II and caustic sulphite process,
- Gold and silver colours
- glycerol esters of wood resin
Chlorophyll Sand and Chlorophyll INS copper complexes may be added with a limit of 100/kg.
Changes have also been proposed for aromatized alcoholic beverages where phosphoric acid has been permitted as a food additive in the limit of 1000mg/kg.
About Distilled and fermented alcoholic beverages
Distilled spirit is also called distilled liquor or alcoholic beverage which includes brandy and arrack besides vodka, gin, rum, and whisky as all these have more than 15% alcohol content. These are obtained by distillation from wine or other fermented fruit or plant juice or from a starchy material like grains that has first been brewed. Alcohol content in a beverage is stated as a percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV) which is actually the number of millilitres of pure ethanol in 100 ml of beverage. Brandy is a spirit produced by the distillation of wine, and has an ABV over 35 percent.
Non distilled beverages are wines that are made from fermented grapes. The fermentation process may last for years and is called aging. Sparkling wine can be made through the process of secondary fermentation while fruit wines are made from plums, cherries and apples while rice wine is made from rice. Cider is an alcoholic beverage that is made from fruit or apple juices and is also called apple cider. Mead is made from fermenting honey with water and fruits, spices or grains could be added too. All these non-distilled beverages like wine, cider, mead, etc. have an ABV of less than 15 percent. Beers have alcohol in the range of 3-15 percent. There are fortified wines that contain 15–22 percent alcohol, cider and wine coolers contain about 4 to 8 percent alcohol.