Through its recently published notification, FSSAI has proposed to make amendments to the existing FSS (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) regulations. The Food Authority has specified various food articles for the purpose of analysis of the naturally occurring toxic substances in them as per the prescribed limits. The existing table in the regulations does not mention the type of food article in reference to the given list of Naturally Occurring Toxins (NOTS).
The Proposed Amendment when it is notified in the Official Gazette will be called Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) (Amendment) Regulations, 2014. Any suggestions and objections may be forwarded to the CEO, FSSAI by March 17, 2015.
The proposed changes would reflect in clause 2 of regulation no. 2.2.1 of FSS (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations, 2011. The existing food safety regulations have mentioned the Naturally Occurring Toxins along with the limits but found no mention of the kind of food products/articles against whom NOTS would be examined.
FSSAI has proposed to amend the existing table and the proposed table would be:
Table: Naturally occurring Toxic Substances
|SI.No||Name of naturally occurring toxic substances (NOTS)||Article of Food||Maximum limits (ppm)|
|1.||Agaric acid||Food containing mushrooms||100|
|2.||Hydrocyanic acid||Nougat, marzipan or its substitutes or similar products||5|
|Canned stone fruits||5|
|Stone fruit juices||5|
|4.||Saffrole||Meat preparations and meat products, including poultry and game||10|
|Fish preparations and fish products||10|
|Soups and sauces||10|
|Food containing mace and nutmeg||10|
About Naturally Occurring Toxic Substances
Naturally Occurring Toxic Substances are the harmful toxins in Foods which act like natural pesticides and defend against insect attack. Sometimes it prevents the plant from getting damaged by weather, microbes or UV sunlight. When such foods are consumed, depending on the level consumed, they can sometimes have a negative reaction and may result in severe food poisoning. Although the risk of poisoning due to consumption of food toxins is fairly low, but there are chances that toxicity can occur due to contamination. This is why food safety regulations formulate the safe levels at which naturally occurring substances can be consumed so that they do not harm the consumers in any way.
Some examples of foods with naturally occurring toxin substances are potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini and rhubarb. Naturally occurring cyanogenic glycosides can be found in raw or unprocessed cassava and bamboo shoots can lead to exposure to the toxin hydrogen cyanide. Apple and pear seeds and the inner stony pit (kernel) of apricots and peaches contain amygdalin which is also cyanogenic glycoside. All potatoes contain natural toxins called glycoalkaloids at low levels but higher levels are found in potato sprouts and peels that often taste bitter. Many types of beans contain toxins called lectins and four or five raw beans can cause severe stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhoea. Some wild mushrooms are funguses that are poisonous.