The 19th meeting of the Food Authority was held on 06 November 2015. The minutes of this meeting were adopted in the 20th meeting held on 27th January 2016. The following are some of the points that were considered at the meeting.
One of the members stated that he had misgivings about the legal validity of the report made by the Task Force on Product Approval. Chairperson, FSSAI explained that the report of the Task Force was only a recommendation and serves as a valuable input for the FSSAI. The regulation on Product Approval is in the drafting process and will be placed before the Authority for consideration.
The FSSAI is also in the process of drafting three regulations
- Import Regulations
- Regulation to issue advisories
- Product Approval regulation
A member had some issues about advisories as he felt that no advisories of any kind can be issued as that was the direction given by the Honourable Supreme Court. However, it was explained that the Supreme Court had merely rejected the plea of FSSAI against the decision of the Bombay High Court quashing the advisory on Product Approvals. All three judges of the High Court who dealt with this matter had different points of view on the powers of the FSSAI to issue advisories. The Authority proposed to frame regulations on matters detailed under section 92 of the FSS Act and to address the other issues through advisories till it frames regulations for those issues.
Categorization of caramel as a ‘natural’ or a ‘synthetic colour’
The Food Authority considered and approved the recommendations of the Scientific Committee to restate the regulation dealing with the categorisation of caramel as prescribed under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation 2011. Therefore caramel will be categorised as a natural colorant as per the existing regulation.
Assessment/ determination of the safety consumption of Khesari dal/ ban on consumption of Khesari dal
The Food Authority discussed this agenda and noted that Khesari dal is grown on 0.48 million ha area in the country in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh even though there is a ban on its sale and storage. The Scientific Committee had not, however, reached a conclusion regarding the safety of Khesari dal and had made a suggestion that the views of ICAR should be taken into consideration in lifting the ban based on introduction of low toxin varieties. After considering the views the matter could be re-evaluated in consultation with other stakeholders. The report of the Expert Committee constituted by the ICMR was of the view that there is no reason for it to recommend the continuation of the ban on sale and storage of Khesari dal as it has
- a low level of consumption,
- availability of low toxin varieties
- a high protein content
- water use efficiency
The ICAR supports these views also and the details made available by Dr. GS Toteja shows that since the last 20 years there is no evidence or lathyrism cases which is caused by consuming Khesari dal. In view of these inputs the Authority was of the opinion that the ban on sale and storage of Lathyrus sativus varieties with low ODAP content namely Ratan (bio L 212) Prateek (LS 157-14) and Mahateora may be lifted. The Ministry of Agriculture would also be requested to promote their cultivation in traditional areas under cultivation of Lathyrus to replace local varieties that have high ODAP.
Revision of Standards of the Packaged Drinking Water
The Food Authority considered the agenda and approved the recommendations of the Scientific Committee on Revision of Standards of Packaged Drinking Water. It was accepted that there was no need for the provision for labelling of water based products which were not for human consumption.
Iron filings in tea
The Authority approves the recommendations of the Scientific Committee to allow 150mg/kg of iron filings in tea. Further it was suggested that the FSSAI could collect data in respect of the limit of iron filings allowed in tea by other exporting countries.
Draft notification for changes in the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation 2011
The Food Authority approved in the principle the draft amendment notification of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation 2011, proposing to increase the turnover limit from Rs.12 lakhs to Rs.25 lakhs and to remove the capacity criteria for petty food manufacturers.
Shri VK Thakkar also made a proposal that proposed that the capacity of the food processing units be expressed in litres in addition to metric tonnes. Such a requirement is a requirement for all liquids and therefore could have widespread implications. It was decided to refer this issue for detailed examination.
Constitution of National Codex Committee (NCC) and various Shadow Committees under NCC
The Food Authority approved the Constitution of the National Codex Committee and various Shadow Committees under the NCC with some minor editorial corrections.
Review of limits of Extraneous Matter in Pulses
The Food Authority after consideration recommended that there should be a separate standard for Raw Pulses that were not for direct human consumption.
Approval of ‘use of Maltitol & Maltitol syrup in various food products’
The Food Authority approved the recommendations of the Scientific Committee w.r.t the use of maltitol [(965 (i)] and maltitol syrup (INS 965 (ii)] in dairy based desserts (FCS: 01.7) such as halwa, boondi, laddo, jalebi, gulab jamun, rasgulla, flavoured yoghurt, in cereal and starch based desserts (FCS 06.5) like custard mixes, rice pudding etc. at GMP level; in heat desiccated dairy based sweets (01.7) like Kalakand as a carrier and filler of artificial sweeteners. After noting the suggestion the standards would have to be checked for alignment with Codex.