The FSSAI has proposed standards to be called the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2016 related to Carbonated Fruit Beverages and Fruit Drinks. Through a notification the FSSAI has also asked stakeholders to send their suggestions, views and comments to FSSAI within a period of 30 days beginning from 21 June 2016.
Some additions have been made to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 under the sub-category relating to Carbonated Fruit Beverages or Fruit Drinks. The FSSAI regulations defines carbonated fruit beverages or fruit drinks as a beverage which is prepared from fruit juice and water or carbonated water and contains sugar, dextrose, invert sugar or liquid glucose. It may also contain peel oil and fruit essences and other appropriate ingredients.
The standards in the 2011 regulations will remain the same which means that Total Soluble solids (m/m), Fruit content (m/m) and other fruits must not be less than 10.0 percent. For lime and lemon the content is 5.0 percent. This standard is to continue but in addition FSSAI has proposed changes which pertain to standards if the quantity of fruit juice is less than 10.0 percent but not less than 5.0 percent and not less than 2.5 percent for lime or lemon
- If this is applicable then the beverage will be called ‘carbonated beverage with fruit juice’
- In this case the requirement of Total Soluble Solids TSS shall not apply
- The quantity of fruit juice shall be declared on the label
In September 2015 Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had suggested that at least five percent of fizzy drinks manufactured be blended with fresh fruit juices to help local farmers. Almost 35 per cent of fruits and vegetables are wasted because of lack of processing and storage facilities. If these are used in carbonated drinks the local farmers will not be able to have a market for some of their fruit.
Some of the carbonated drinks companies say that it might not be possible to incorporate fruit into their present formulations which are made without fruit as an ingredient. This is the reason that Coca Cola has already begun to work on a series of juice blended fizzy drink variants for this reason to target the health conscious consumers.
Some of the issues that have been pointed out by the Indian Beverage Association (IBA) are that carbonated water using fruit juice will not be able to meet the pesticide residue standards of 1part per billion (ppb). They also point out that since fruit juice is microbiologically sensitive as an ingredient therefore it could require a higher level or preservatives than permitted if it is to have the desired shelf life. Another issue highlighted is that adding the percentage of fruit juice as required by standards leads to product instability. They also wanted the TSS to be brought down from 10 percent to 3 percent.
Some of these issues have already been met by the FSSAI in the proposed draft related to Carbonated Fruit Beverages and Fruit Drinks. So it should not be long before consumers have a new choice in beverages. The Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) already seems to have stolen a march over others as their technology innovation of carbonated fruit juices of grape, apple, and pomegranate have already been introduced and they contain 20 percent fruit extracts. It seems that Thumbs Up and Minute Maid will also have their carbonated fruit beverages on the shelves soon.