On 5 September 2016, the FSSAI had notified an amendment regulation for standards of food additives. These regulations were called the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Seventh Amendment Regulations, 2016 and they prescribed revised provisions for the use of food additives in various foods including the use of yeast at GMP in some food products.
According to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation 2011 yeast is permitted for use in bakery products. The vertical standards for yeast have also been prescribed in these regulations. The universally accepted norm is that yeast is recognized as a food ingredient and not just as a food additive. However, there are no provisions in the regulations that recognize yeast as a food ingredient. Therefore, in the direction dated 30 June 2017, the FSSAI has clarified that yeast must be considered a food ingredient.
In the direction, the FSSAI states that it has taken due consideration of the stakeholders’ concerns over the omission of the proviso that yeast is a food ingredient. Also, it must be noted that in the revised food additive provisions (5 September 2016) yeast is permitted to be used at GMP levels in bread and biscuits. Besides, the amendments on standards of food additives are still under the process so all concerns can be addressed. Keeping all these in mind the FSSAI has decided to approve yeast as an ingredient in bread and biscuits pending the necessary amendments to the vertical standards in respect to yeast.
Yeast is a single-celled micro-organism from the fungus family that originated millions of years ago. Around 1500 species of yeast have been identified so far which is just 1% of all described fungal species. Yeast has been used as an ingredient in foods for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used yeast fermentation to leaven bread. Discovery of grinding stones, baking chambers, and drawings of 4000-year-old bakeries prove that bread used to be backed by the ancient Egyptians. Other evidence on the use of yeast comes from archaeological remains of jars that contained the remains of wine that is 7,000 years old. Today also yeast continues to be used in the production of alcoholic beverages, bread, biscuits and other products. Yeast is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and is therefore used in a number of baked products and wines.