In recent months the FSSAI has issued two important draft notifications with the explicit aim of protecting the interests of the consumers. The two draft notifications are as follows
- The Draft Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations, 2017, has been issued because, it will to a great extent, ensure the safety and authenticity of all foods labeled ‘’organic”
- The draft Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2017, is intended to put a stop to the practice of adulterating edible oil with cheaper oils
The FSSAI has sought comments and suggestions on these draft notifications by 22 July 2017 from the public as well as stakeholders.
Regulation on organic foods
The FSSAI has clearly stated that only those foods will be termed as organic foods which have been grown and the produce of which is from a system of agriculture where there has been no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides or made from organically produced raw materials.
However, currently, there are a number of food products that are being marketed as “organic.’’ However, since at present there is no regulatory framework there is no way to ensure their safety and organic status. Neither do consumers have any means by which they can check their authenticity. The FSSAI has therefore drafted the Organic Food Regulations to overcome these problems and to make certain that the ‘organic’ food sold in the market is really organic.
The draft of the Organic Food Regulation states that any food offered for sale as “organic food,’ needs to comply with the provisions as laid down in either of these bodies namely
- National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) administered by the Government of India
- Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) operated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare or
- Any other system or standards that may be notified by the Food Authority from time to time
The draft regulation also mandates that such organic foods must
- convey full and accurate information on the organic status of the product,
- carry a certification mark or a quality assurance mark given by any of the notified certification bodies
- those organic foods are exempted from certification if the producers sell them directly to consumers. This mandate does not apply to any processed organic products
Curbing misleading claims and adulteration of edible oils with cheaper oils
To curb adulteration of edible oil with cheaper oil and to curb misleading claims the FSSAI has drafted the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulation, 2017. This draft incorporates standards for edible oils and their fatty acid compositions. The fatty acid composition will help determine that the edible oil is authentic. This is possible as the fatty acid composition of each type of edible oil is different. So the amendment will help to determine the authenticity of the oil and detect adulteration and help to quantify the proportion of blends used in the blended edible oils.
This amendment regulation will certainly help to expose and curb the malpractices in the edible oil sector. The twofold aim of this amendment is to
- prevent adulteration of expensive oils with cheaper oils
- stop misleading label claims on the composition of blended oils