Through its order dated 9 May 2017 the FSSAI has made an advisory related to the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Health Supplements. FSSAI has reminded the stakeholders that under Section 3 (j) of the Food Safety & Standards Act 2006 the definition of food is as follows:
“Food” means any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and includes primary food to the extent defined in clause (zk) genetically modified or engineered of food containing such ingredients, infant foods, packaged drinking water, alcoholic drink, chewing gum, and any substance, including water used into the food during its manufacture, preparation or treatment but does not include animal feed, live animal unless they are prepared or processed for placing on the market for human consumption, plants, prior to harvesting, drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substance.
Also as per Section 22 of the Food Safety & Standards Act 2006, Foods for special dietary uses, functional foods, nutraceuticals or health supplements does not include a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance as defined in the Schedule of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985 (61 of 1985) and rules made there under and substances listed in Schedules E and E1 of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.
Based on these two Rules of the Food Act the FSSAI has stated that it is the responsibility of the Food Business Operators to ensure that health supplements do not contain any banned substances. This issue is of utmost importance as health supplements have become a popular food choice especially among youth and sportspersons. There is now a huge demand for such products and the use of performance enhancing drugs and other banned substances mixed in these products cannot be completely ruled out.
Unscrupulous manufacturers find it profitable to add these banned substances in an otherwise well intended product, risking the health of unsuspecting consumers especially as their use is not mentioned on labels. There have been certain news reports in the media about the use of performance enhancing drugs by athletes. India stands third in the world doping violation cases and therefore health food manufacturers need to be extra cautious about what ingredients they use in their health supplements.
The FSSAI has through this order, directed all Food Safety Commissioners in the States and Union Territories to conduct special drives to check for the use of such banned substances in food supplements. They have also been advised to scrutinise labels and in case of any suspicion send the sample to the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for testing. The FSSAI has provided the phone number 011-24368243 of the Director General of NADA. The FSSAI has also stated that action will be initiated against any FBO defaulting on the use of such substances which will be in accordance with the Food Safety & Standards Act 2006.
FSSAI has also provided the latest (January 2017) list of prohibited substances as given in ‘The World Anti-Doping Code International Standard.’ The list includes substances and methods prohibited at all times which are basically non-approved substances by any government health regulatory body and includes drugs that are undergoing clinical trial or drugs which are meant for veterinary use.
The prohibited list also includes
- Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS)
- Peptide Hormones, growth factors, related substances and mimetics
- Beta-2 Agnostics
- Hormone and Metabolic Modulators
- Diuretics and Masking Agents
Substances prohibited in competitions include
- Beta Blockers