Through a notification dated 28 November 2017, the FSSAI has issued directions regarding the labeling requirements of seasonings as a food category. In August 2017 FSSAI had notified the prescribed standards for seasoning and other products in the Gazette of India.
However, FSSAI has since then received representations from various stakeholders stating that the regulations would require them to change their label printing from ‘seasoning and condiments’, which are proprietary foods to the new requirement of food category “seasoning.” In view of fact that FBOs still have stocks of the old labels they have requested the FSSAI to allow them to use their current printed labels for another six months. FSSAI has duly considered the request and has decided to permit the existing labels under proprietary food for these products until 31 January 2018. While the labels can remain the same the FBOs will have to comply with the standards prescribed for seasoning in the food products as has been specified in the Gazette notification.
Seasonings have become an important food category because consumers are always on the look-out for innovation in food tastes, which is brought about by combinations in the seasoning accompanying foods like noodles, snacks or other packaged foods and ready-to-eat foods. In India, there is an increase in the demand for seasonings that have exotic flavors besides the traditional ethnic flavors of Indian herbs and spices.
In the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standard and Food Additives) Seventh Amendment Regulation 2017 SEASONING has been defined as a product that is used to enhance the flavor of foods. Seasoning is used with a number of packaged products and ready-to-cook foods. Prior to August 2017, there were no standards for seasonings.
According to regulations, seasoning may contain various ingredients such as spices, condiments and herbs including their extracts, salt, fruits and vegetables or their products or extracts, dry fruits, nuts and raisins or their products, edible starches, yeast and its product including yeast extract, soya and its products, hydrolysed protein or their products, meat, poultry, marine, aquatic and their products, edible vegetable oils and fats, cereal and cereal products, milk and milk products, nutritive sweeteners or any other suitable ingredient whose standards are prescribed in Food Safety and Standards(Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.