When it comes to food consumption, people need to be very careful about what they are eating or drinking as it directly affects their safety and health. There is no dearth of food products available in the market. Same goes for the chocolates as well. People get attracted to the colorful packaging of chocolates and the sweetness they promise to offer. Before choosing a chocolate to buy, it is imperative to check the signs of approval on its packaging so as to confirm that it is suitable to consume. The Government of India has an authorized agency, the FSSAI or the Food Safety and Standards of India to ensure the quality of food available for human consumption. Surely, you would not settle for something that is not at par with prescribed standards of quality. Thus, be satisfied with the quality of the product before buying the same. FSSAI keeps a check on the quality of food products manufactured and sold in India. Established under the purview of The Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the agency strives hard to promote and protect the health of the Indian people and this is done by setting up food standards.
Notification by FSSAI for the Revision of Standards for Chocolate
Recently, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India issued a notification on 15th May 2017 revising the standards earlier set for chocolates. New standards have also been included for two chocolate categories. These amendments and revisions are referred to as the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Fourth Amendment Regulations, 2017. The Food Business Operators are expected to comply with these amendments and revisions by January 1st, 2018.
Revisions made by FSSAI
The revisions made by FSSAI are pertaining to the standards set for the use of vegetable fat used in chocolates. The standards that were earlier set by the agency did not allow the use of vegetable fats in chocolates with only cocoa butter being an exception. Now, the agency has permitted to use vegetable fats in chocolates, apart from cocoa butter keeping in line with CODEX and many other international practices. The agency also stipulates the use of vegetable fat in the chocolates must not be more than 5 percent of the finished product. When using vegetable fat, the Food Business Operators must also prescribe to its source and use it in the chocolates as prescribed in the regulation.
Vegetable Fats Labelling
The FSSAI or the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India further specifies the label declaration on the chocolate packaging that must mention the vegetable fat quantity used in the chocolate.
If a chocolate contains vegetable fats besides cocoa butter, its label must carry the legal declaration in bold as under-
“CONTAINS VEGETABLE FAT IN ADDITION TO COCOA BUTTER”
Vegetable Fats Standards
It is imperative to note that vegetable fats can be used in blends or single in the chocolates and when being used, the same needs to comply with-
- The Vegetable Fats may be miscible with cocoa butter in any proportion and must be compatible with crystallization temperature, melting point, need for tempering phase and melting rate and other physical properties.
- The Vegetable fats used are non-lauric that is fats rich in symmetrical monounsaturated triglycerides. This must belong to the type POSt (palmitic acid -oleic acid stearic acid), POP (palmitic acid -oleic acid- palmitic acid) and StOSt (stearic acid -oleic acid- stearic acid).
- The vegetable fats being used in chocolates must be acquired by the process of fractionation and/or refining that excludes triglyceride structure enzymatic modification in conformation with above standard.
Permitted Vegetable Fats
The vegetable fats that have been permitted to be used in the chocolates and obtained from plants as an equivalent of cocoa butter are as follows-
- Sal (Shorea robusta)
- Mango kernel (Mangifera indica)
- Kokum gurgi (Garcinia indica)
- Mahua Oil (Bassia latifolia or B. longifolia)
- Palm oil (Elaeis guineensis and Elaeis olifera)
- Phulwara fat (Madhuca butyracea)
- Dhupa Fat (Vateria indica)
- Dharambe fat (Garcinia cambogia)
New Standards Added for Covertures and Proline Chocolate Categories
Praline- This is a popular chocolate variety that is made in a single mouthful size. The chocolate component and its amount should not be less than 25 percent of the total weight of the product. Moreover, the product shall either contain a single or filled chocolate or a blend of chocolates for which regulations have clearly specified the standards.
Coverture- This is another popular variety of chocolates that are considered to be very high in quality. The amount of cocoa butter found in these chocolates is more than any other variety. As per FSSAI, the total amount of cocoa solids or dry matter in coverture must not be less than 35% of total cocoa solids. It in its turn must not be less than 31% cocoa butter and not less than 2.5% fat-free cocoa solids. This chocolate may contain artificial sweeteners. The same must be specified in the regulations’ Appendix A. The labeling declarations on its label must be in compliance with the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011.
With these standards being added for Proline and Couverture Chocolate categories, FSSAI has in all standards for ten varieties of chocolates. These are Milk Covering Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Plain covering chocolate, Plain Chocolate, White Chocolate, Composite Chocolate, Blended chocolate, Coverture, and Praline.
The Chocolates have following optional ingredients-
The following substances have been permitted to be used in chocolates on an optional basis-
- Minerals and Vitamins
- Permitted Stabilizing and Emulsifying Agents
- Condiments and spices and their extracts
- Edible Salts
- Permitted Buffering and Sequestering Agents
Thus, the Food Business Operators manufacturing, storing, distributing, importing and selling chocolates must apprise themselves of this latest notice issued by FSSAI and work in compliance with the standards set by the Agency.