Nutraceuticals, Health Supplements, Dietary Supplements, Noval foods, Proprietary food; all are covered under the definition of food as per Section 22 of Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. These food products have been categorized as Non-Standardized food products so they have to be approved from the apex food regulator ‘FSSAI’, prior to their manufacture & Import and further distribution/sale in the Indian Market.
In absence of the standards for food products like Nutra & Health Supplements in India, there was a need for the formulation of standard regulations to streamline the food business activities of such food products. Experts say, it is not an easy task to accommodate these non-standardized food products in the existing food chain because of challenges of testing & other parameters to ensure the safety of the consumers in India. For the matter, the FSSAI had set up a team to analyze the situation and to further put in place a regulatory mechanism for special food products like nutraceuticals, health supplements etc. in Indian market. As per sources, a 17 member team learned to have submitted its report to FSSAI. The report may have the recommended guidelines to regulate the non-standardized food products.
FSSAI’s Food Product Approval System which deals with authorization of ingredients is currently in place where FBOs can apply online for the approval of the non-standardized foods from the apex food regulator. FSSAI has clearly specified the complete procedure for Food Product Approval System (FPAS) and recently the apex food regulator has shared the detailed information on all about Food Product Approval for the better understanding of the FBOs.
The food business community has been waiting from a long time for the standard guidelines for food products governed under Section 22 of FSSA. In India, currently there are 380 plus articles of food which are standardized, based on the safety & other parameters, however, the developed nations of the world have well-defined procedures for all of the food products available in their respective countries and are better prepared with the regulatory framework.
The global study data on Nutraceuticals says that such food articles are required to fulfill the deficiency in human beings but a large proportion of the urban population buying these food products due to the sedentary lifestyle. Nutra & Health Supplements are particularly processed & formulated and the composition of such food products satisfies the dietary requirements for a physical & physiological condition or a specific deficiency and disorder. The health experts opine; balanced diet would satisfy the nutrient requirements, however dietary & health supplements are recommended where there is any deficiency in the human body function.
The minerals and vitamins or proteins or metals whatever added in the nutraceutical or health foods/supplements, they should not exceed the recommended daily allowance (RDA) that has been specifically mentioned by the ICMR, in that case we have to follow ICMR data statistics mentioned for vitamins or minerals & other micronutrients.