FSSAI is one of the prominent agencies in the country that came into existence to keep a check on the quality of food available for human consumption. Recently, the agency proposed a Draft Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2017. This draft is related to special dietary food requirements.
As soon as the agency received suggestions and objections related to these draft regulations, it will be finalized. These objections or suggestions must be received by the agency within a stipulated period of time that is within a month from the notification date which was April 18th, 2017, in this case. The draft regulations will come into force as soon as it gets finally published in the Official Gazette of India.
The Draft Regulations are related to the Spices, Condiments, Salt and other related products. The modifications are a part of Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. It includes-
- After Clause 5, an additional Clause 6 needs to be added that is related to the Salt Substitutes Composition. The Agency has certain standards in the composition of salt constituents that need to be followed.
- The salt substitutes can have calcium silicate or colloidal silica which should not be more than 1 percent M/M of the mixture of salt substitute, either in combination or individually. Further, the diluents that are used as cereal flour or sugar must be suitable and safe nutritive foods.
- Compounds containing iodine that is added to the salt substitutes should be as per the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011.
- Salt substitute’s sodium content should not exceed 100 g/120 mg of the mixture containing salt substitute.
- There are specific labeling provisions that need to be confirmed by salt substitutes apart from the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. The labeling requirements must include the following-
- “Low Sodium Dietetic Salt” or “Low Sodium Salt Substitute”
- Cations amount (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, choline and ammonium/ 100 g (m/m) in the mixture of salt substitute.
The above information must be declared on the label.
The modifications that are going to be made in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011according to the draft regulations under Regulation 2.11. It is related to other food ingredients and products and should be added after sub-regulation 2.11.8 and 2.11.9.
Low Sodium Content in Special Dietary Food
- Dietary food with low sodium has specific dietary value. This is because of the Sodium salt’s restriction, reduction or removal as per conformity with the necessary standards and composition as applied to such a food that excludes salt substitutes.
- It is important that low sodium food conforms to the specific provisions laid down regarding the maximum content of sodium specified by the Agency.
- Low sodium content containing special dietary food must be processed without the addition of sodium salts.
- The content of sodium added must not exceed more than 50 percent of the consumed comparable normal product.
- The content of sodium added must not exceed more than 100 g/120 mg of the consumed final product.
- Salt substitutes are permitted to be added to a special dietary food with low content of sodium only if it is limited by GMP or good manufacturing practice as per the Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2011.
- Low sodium content containing special dietary food must conform to certain labeling provisions as mentioned in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2011.
Label Information to be displayed
- Whether very low sodium or low sodium
- The sodium content added must be to the closest multiple of 5 mg per 100 g along with the sodium per serving normally consumed.
- Average protein, carbohydrate and fat content in 100-gram product that is consumed on a normal basis and the kilojoule or kilocalorie value.
- Clause 6 of 2.9.30 self-regulation has added to the list of salt substitutes related to the salt substitute’s composition.
- Potassium total amount (as Mg cation/ 100g of the food that is normally consumed) when the composition of salt substitute contains partially or entirely of a potassium salt.
- The equivalent of salt in terms of NaCl or Sodium Chloride content/ serving and NaCl total amount in the packet.
- Any special food storage conditions.
How are Draft Regulations going to have an impact on Special Dietary Food?
Under the following two sub-regulations, the proposal of draft regulations is based-
- Salt Substitutes Composition
- Low Sodium Content containing Special Dietary Food
With these draft regulations, FSSAI has tried to highlight the aim of the agency for ensuring high and improved quality salt products that are sure to be encouraged and appreciated by health conscious people. It is significant to note that these latest salt substitutes are not only going to be healthier but safer for consumption as they will directly benefit people suffering from the problem of high blood pressure or hypertension and heart diseases.
FSSAI and its Role
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India came into existence to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction and maintain the level of food quality. The Agency plays a vital role in the formulation of food controlling procedures. A lot of measures are implemented by the Agency to eliminate hazardous and toxic substances. This way, the consumer using these products is assured of the safety and quality of the same. The packaging of the product also speaks volumes about the food product and its quality. The consumers are informed about food safety. These techniques need to be applied by the food manufacturers as it will help control any degradation in food. The biggest asset for any food business owner is the level of confidence it can entrust in the minds of the consumers. With FSSAI at its helm, they are able to ensure the same. From time to time, the agency comes up with draft regulations to ensure and maintain food quality and safety.
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