On 10 October 2016, the FSSAI has notified the amendments it has made to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 relating to the microbiological standards for milk and milk products and meat and meat products. Once published in the Official Gazette the amendments will be called the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Tenth Amendment Regulations, 2016. These amendments will come into force one year after the date of publication.
According to the amendments the FBOs will have to follow the microbial standards for Milk and Milk products and also Meat and Meat products according to the criterion
- Process Hygiene Criteria
- Food Safety Criteria
For Process Hygiene Criteria Milk and Milk products will need to be tested for Aerobic Plate Count, Coliform Count, Staphylococcus aureus (Coagulase positive) Yeast and Mould Count, Escherichia colibe according to the sample plan and limits given in the tabular form in the amendment (Table 2A)
For Food Safety Criteria given in Table 2B milk and milk products will need to be tested for contaminants like Salmonella sp. Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Sulphite Reducing Clostridia (SRC) Enterobacter sakazakii (Cronobacter sp.)
The milk and milk products categories to be tested are as follows
Pasteurized/boiled Milk/ Flavoured Milk
Sterilized milk /UHT milk / Evaporated Milk
Sterilized / UHT Cream
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Pasteurized Butter Milk Powder ; SMP, Partly SMP ; Dairy Whitener ; Cream Powder Ice Cream Mix Powder ; Lactose ; Whey based Powder ; Butter Milk Powder ; Casein Powder 3
Infant Milk Food, Infant Formulae, Infant Milk Substitute, Follow Up Formula, Cereal Based Complimentary food
Ice Cream, Frozen Dessert, Milk Lolly, Ice Candy
Processed Cheese/ Cheese Spread
All other cheeses categories including fresh cheeses / Cheddar / Cottage /Soft /Semi Soft
Fermented Milk Products
Paneer/ Chhana/ chhana based sweets
Khoa/ Khoa based sweets
Microbial Standards for Meat and Meat Products
In the Process Hygiene Criteria meat and meat products need to be tested for Aerobic Plate Count, Yeast and Mould Count, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus (Coagulase +ve)
For the Food Safety Criteria samples of meats and meat products will need to be tested for Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Sulphite Reducing Clostridia, Clostridium Botulinum, Campylobacter Spp.
The category of Meat and Meat Products are as follows
Fresh meat/ Chilled meat
Raw marinated/minced/comminuted meat2
Semi-cooked /Smoked Meat/ meat food Product
Fermented meat products
Dried/dehydrated meat product
Cooked meat products
Canned/Retort pouch Meat Products
The Process Hygiene Criteria (Table – 2A) and the Food Safety Criteria (Table 2B) is given separately for Milk and Milk products and Meat and Meat products. These criteria indicate the acceptable functioning of the production process and the testing will need to be completed at the end of the manufacturing process. This table indicates the minimum contamination value and any value above these values will require corrective action so that full hygiene of the process is in compliance with food laws.
The Microbiological Standards in the Food Safety Criteria define the acceptability of a batch/lot which needs to be met in respect of the product, before it is released in the market. Food Safety Criteria shall be applicable to the products at the end of the manufacturing process and when in the market during their shelf- life.
In case there is non-compliance the FBO must
- check and improve process hygiene by implementation of guidelines in Schedule 4 (Part III) of FSS (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations
- ensure that all food safety criteria as specified in Table -2B are complied with before releasing the product batch/lot in the market
Notes for FBOs
- FBOs will need to undertake testing as appropriate as per the microbiological standards with respect to the products specified in Table-2A and 2B to ensure validation and verification of compliance with the microbiological requirements.
- FBO shall decide themselves the necessary sampling and testing frequencies to ensure compliance with the specified microbiological requirements.
- FBO may use analytical methods other than those described in reference test methods given in the regulations for in-house testing only. However, the testing methods for regulatory compliance will need to adhere to the methods that have been given in this amendment regulation.