Through a notification dated 29 December 2016 the FSSAI has announced that it has notified the final regulation namely the ‘Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Fourteenth Amendment Regulations, 2016’ in the Official Gazette of India. This notification is with regard to the standards for limit of iron filings in tea for which the upper limit has been fixed at 250mg/kg of tea. This regulation will come into effect from the date of the final notification.
Tea manufacturers had been demanding for regulations which would fix the upper limit of iron filings in tea for some time. Iron filings are not considered an adulteration as they appear in tea because of the manufacturing process as the machinery is made of iron. Machinery wear and tear is the main reason for the presence of iron filings in tea. The FSSAI had sent samples for analysis to National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad and till the report was finalised all enforcement activities to inspect tea in retail stores had been temporarily halted. However, since the presence of iron filings in tea has always been considered a food safety concern it needed to be addressed at the earliest.
The FSSAI has now finalised standards after taking into consideration the comments received from stakeholders. In this regard the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 with regard to limit of tea filings have been amended. The amendment has been made in the regulation under BEVERAGES, (Other than Dairy and Fruits & Vegetables based) with regard to tea. Previously there were no regulations for upper limit of iron filings in tea but now the FSSAI has fixed the standards for upper limits of iron filings in all types of tea including Kangra Tea at 250mg/kg of tea. Since the regulation will soon come into force all tea manufacturers and retailers will need to comply with these standards where iron filings in tea have been limited to 250mg/kg of tea and they cannot exceed this limit.