The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a notification on Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) (Amendment) Regulations, 2015 on June 5, 2015. The Draft Regulations states that in 2011 Regulations (within regulation 2.1 relating to ‘Metal Contaminants’, in the sub-regulation 2.1.1.; Clause 2); the maximum permissible limit which has been proposed for Chromium in Gelatin is 10 ppb. It should be noted that the maximum level of chromium permitted in refined sugar is 20 ppb. It is also to be noted that refined sugar is the only food product which has been defined to be tested for chromium contamination as per FSSAI regulations, 2011.
Origin and properties of gelatin: Gelatin is a commonly used gelling agent used in numerous food products and is a protein that is derived from the partial hydrolysis of collagen, which is an animal product. It is usually obtained from the skin, white connective tissues and bones of animals such as cows or pigs. It is usually colorless or pale yellowish and translucent in the form of sheets, flakes, shreds or coarse to fine powder. It has a slight odor and taste but which is not objectionable. It is stable in air when dry but is subject to microbial decomposition when moist.
Gelatin in food: Gelatin is a major component of canned meat like canned cooked ham. It is also a component of jellies like fruit jelly, marmalade, ice creams, marshmallows, chewing gum/bubble gum, lozenges, carbonated water, non-dairy creamer, pea nuts, potato chips etc.
Justification for testing chromium in gelatin: There is a necessity for testing chromium in gelatin. Since gelatin is derived from animal bone matter, it could be contaminated with heavy metals such as chromium. Therefore, arises the need for testing chromium in gelatin.