Through a notification dated 9 August, 2017 the FSSAI has informed all FBOs that the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has stayed the effect and operation on the standards of Silver Leaf, the notification for which FSSAI had released on 15th July, 2016. The FSSAI had notified the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Fifth Amendment Regulations 2016 related to the revision of standards for Silver Leaf which was to commence operations on 1st August 2017.
However, on 28 July, 2017 the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has issued an order to stay the effect and operation of the standards on Silver Leaf till the next date of hearing. The FSSAI has said that as per directions of the court these standards will not become effective till next hearing. The petitioners Mohammad Imran and others have filed a petition before the honourable court about one of the revised standards which is; SILVER LEAF (chandi-ka-warq) food grade shall not be manufactured using any material of animal origin at any stage.
The petitioners are in the business of manufacturing silver leaf and feel that the addition of this clause, which was not there earlier in the 2011 regulations, will result on the closure of their business and will render their workers jobless as they manufacture silver leaf in the traditional way. The petitioners have also pointed out that this process of manufacturing silver leaf does not contain any contaminants and does not change the quality or characteristic of silver leaf. Processing of silver leaf in the traditional way is carried out through a secret knowledge and has been passed down through generations and has been in practice for hundreds of years. The process involves placing silver inside the intestines of cow or buffalo and then hammering the silver till it flattens into extremely thin strips. The animal intestines are treated with herbs in such a way that no animal DNA is passed in to the silver leaf or chandi-ka-warq.
The petitioners have also contended, that in case consumers have objections to the use of silver leaf made through this traditional method, then the same can be indicated on the product label that it is not for use by vegetarians and also the product can bear the non-vegetarian mark on the food label. The Delhi High Court has stayed the effect and operation of the revised standards till the next hearing because it feels
- The FSSAI will require time to reconsider the appeal of the petitioner especially with regard to change in labelling and placing of non-vegetarian mark. The Delhi High Court has also stated that its order and the petition must be placed, at the earliest before the Ministry of Health.
- The operation of the amendment was to come into effect on 1 August 2017, this would render the closure of the business of the petitioners as they would not be able to manufacture silver leaf in the traditional way.