There have been a number of complaints and representations regarding adulteration of tapioca sago with maize starch. It has come to the notice of the FSSAI that products that look similar to sago are being manufactured using maize starch or any other imported starch and not tapioca starch. In this regard, the FSSAI has issued a letter dated 21 September 2017 directing the Commissioners and Officers in charge of food safety in the states and union territories about the steps they need to take to prevent this kind of adulteration.
The FSSAI has deliberated upon the matter and has come to the decision that since the regulations contain standards only for Tapioca sago, therefore the use of any other starch from any other source will be treated as adulteration of sago. If any other starch, like maize starch, is used to make look-alike sago then
- prior approval will have to be sought for such products
- products that do not contain tapioca starch but other starch cannot be named or labeled Sago or Tapioca starch sago
The FSSAI has also directed the Commissioners and officers in charge of food safety to ensure that FBOs make Tapioca sago only with Tapioca starch as per the standards are given in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2016.
These regulations (2.4.14) under STARCHY FOODS define SAGO as small hard globules or pearls made from either the starch of the sago palm or the tubers of tapioca (Manihot utilissima) and shall be free from any extraneous matter including natural colors. Sago must conform to standards given below
- total ash (on dry basis) shall not be more than 0.4 percent
- ash insoluble in dilute hydrochloric acid (on dry basis) shall not exceed 0.1 percent
In view of the above Tapioca Sago can only be made from tapioca starch as per the prescribed standards and under hygienic conditions. Commissioners and Officers in charge of food safety will take the necessary steps to stop adulteration in tapioca sago with immediate effect according to the directions.