The FSSAI has issued a letter dated 9 October 2017 regarding the effective implementation of the prohibition on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of Pan Masala with tobacco and/or nicotine as an ingredient. The letter has been issued a letter to the Commissioners of Food Safety and Officers-in-charge of Food Safety in all States and Union Territories (UT).
In the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations 2011, under the regulation ‘Prohibition and Restriction on sale of certain products’ it is stipulated that “Product not to contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.”
It has come to the notice of the FSSAI that the prohibited substances like gutka and paan masala containing either tobacco or nicotine or both as ingredients are available for sale in some States/UTs despite the fact that the States have issued notifications banning these substances. FSSAI has, therefore, requested all Food Safety Officials to take all necessary measures to ensure full compliance of the provisions of the above-mentioned regulation.
It is also brought to the notice of all that in this regard there are is an Hon’ble Supreme Court interim order dated 23 September, 2016 which directs all Statutory Authorities and Secretaries of Health Department of all States and UTs to file their affidavits on the matter of total compliance on the ban imposed on manufacturing and sale of gutka and paan masala that uses tobacco and/or nicotine as an ingredient in these products. To ensure full compliance the FSSAI had also issued a letter dated 5 October 2016 to Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/ UTs wherein the above mentioned Supreme Court interim order was forwarded for compliance.
Following the Supreme Court order, the Central government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also issued a complete ban on the sale of food products that contained tobacco and nicotine as ingredients across India. This ban was for products like gutka, paan masala, zarda and mouth fresheners that contained tobacco/ nicotine as flavoring ingredients.