Through a letter dated 14 November 2017 sent to Commissioners of Food Safety of all States and UTs, the FSSAI has clarified the conditions under which it has extended the date for the discrepancies in label claims related to edible oil fortification.
The FSSAI had operationalized the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Food) Regulations, 2016 in October 2016. These regulations prescribed the standards for the fortification of edible vegetable oil with Vitamin A or Vitamin D. After the revised standards for milk this regulation was further operationalized on 19 May 2017. Industries that were involved in the fortification of edible vegetable oil were exempted for label discrepancies in the fortified vegetable oil with regard to label claim and the actual levels of fortification, till 5 August 2017.
The FSSAI has, however, received a number of representations to further extend the time period for discrepancies of label claims and actual fortification. Taking into consideration the representations the FSSAI has decided to further extend the date for label claim fortification discrepancies to enable the FBOs to exhaust their existing inventory so they do not suffer a monetary loss.
The time period for label claim discrepancies and actual fortification of Vitamin A and Vitamin D in edible vegetable oil has now been extended to 31 December 2017. This exemption is subject to the condition that the actual level of fortification must be in accordance with the prescribed levels as given in the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Food) Regulations, 2016.
About Fortification of Edible Vegetable Oil
The FSSAI is keenly promoting fortification of foods and in this regard has issued standards for the fortification of salt with iodine and iron and also milk and edible vegetable oils with vitamins A and D. Wheat flour and rice with iron, folic acid, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin A and also useful micronutrients. Vitamin A and D can easily be mixed in oil and remain stable in edible vegetable oil. The oil also facilitates absorption of these vitamins by the body.
Vitamin A and Vitamin D deficiency is a common public health problem in developing countries like India. Fortification improves the quality of food and allows the affected population to get essential micronutrients through foods of daily intake. In March 2017 the FSSAI had convened a meeting asking the food industry to fortify foods. All the major edible oil manufacturing and processing industries had decided, at that time, to fortify edible oils with vitamin A and D.