FSSAI License for Health Drinks
In India, awareness about health and fitness has increased to a significant extent. People try different health products to complete nutritional deficiency. These days, health drinks are quite in vogue, but at the same time, there are several controversies enveloping these so-called “health” drinks. According to the experts in the field, instead of health drinks, it is wiser to call them “caffeinated beverage”. People unknowingly consume these drinks and then suffer from a variety of side-effects.
Role of FSSAI
FSSAI or the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has taken a lot of steps to strip off the term health or energy drinks from these concoctions available in the market. It has been made mandatory for these drinks to carry a safety warning on their label so that the consumers know what they are drinking. Moreover, the label must also say that these drinks are not recommended for consumption for lactating or pregnant women and children, people who are sensitive to caffeine”. The label must also say that the drinks must not be consumed more than two cans in a day. By laying down these standards, the Agency is trying to keep a control on the over-consumption of these drinks which may result in serious medical problems in many people.
After a lot of cases came up where consuming these health drinks resulted in a damaging effect on the consumers, FSSAI decided to make the rules in this sector more stringent. Many times, it has been seen that consumption of high caffeine content resulted in severe medical issues. FSSAI had raised the standards pertaining to these drinks almost two years back also. Recently, the agency finalized latest NOI standards to be ensured in these drinks.
According to the latest standards mentioned in the draft, there is no need to share information about the nutrition that includes nutritive and vitamin claims to be given on the label.
Steps were taken by FSSAI
In case of some health drinks, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India withdrew the NOC of the products and recalled them considering them as unsafe. In an order dated June 11th, 2015, the Authority asked the manufacturers of one of the popular health drinks, “Restless Energy Drink” to recall it immediately from the market. This is because it was found to be quite unsafe for consumption. The NOC or No Objection Certificate for this drink was issued by FSSAI on August 13 for a year.
Later, in the year 2014, January 21st, the FSSAI’s scientific panel found an irrational Ginseng and Caffeine combination having an opposing effect on the human body. After the scientific panel’s observation, it recommended the product to be declared unsafe and a recall order was issued by FSSAI. The company has been directed to stop the production, sale, and distribution of this health drink in the market. The product was manufactured by M/s Pushpam Food & Beverages. The company has applied for the approval of other health and energy drinks in the past. Some of these drinks were Cloud 9 Red Grapes Energy Drinks, Cloud 9 Pomegranate Energy Drink, Cloud 9 Premium Drink and Cloud 9 Wild Berry Energy Drink. The NOC for these drinks was also withdrawn after a thorough discussion by the Scientific Panel on Functional Foods, Dietetic Products, Nutraceuticals, and Other Similar Products. The reason behind the withdrawal was a similar irrational combination of Ginseng and Caffeine in the health drinks. The NOC was withdrawn in November 2014.
Another popular health drink withdrawn by FSSAI was Tzinga Energy Drink. It came in several variants like Tropical Trip, Lemon and Mint, and Mango and Strawberry. These drinks were produced by Hector Beverages Pvt Ltd. The company was asked to recall the drink from the market. The reasons behind this decision were-
The reasons behind this decision were
- Use of ingredients that were unsafe, like ginseng and caffeine combination
- There was a variation in the detailed quantity and composition of the additives and ingredients used in product/ serving size and the original application shared with the authority for seeking approval of the product and also in the one that was later shared with FSSAI when the authority asked for clarification.
- The manufacturer was not able to furnish ingredients sourced.
- There was no data pertaining to safety evaluation was provided by global agencies like USAFDA, Codex, FSANZ, EU, and WHO.
The company also came up with two different variants of these drinks in Apple and Mango without seeking approval for the product by FSSAI. It is not permitted to launch a product in the market without seeking approval for the same as per regulations. Hence, it was considered unauthorized. It is imperative to seek product approval separately for the product even if its compositions are slightly different from the parent product.
FSSAI and its Inception
The very objective behind the setting up of Food Safety and Standard Authority of India was to ensure and maintain levels of food quality so that it is safe for human consumption. The FSSAI has been entrusted to formulate controlling procedures. The authority has to implement a variety of measures that ensure the elimination of hazardous and toxic elements. As a result of these measures each and every consumer getting an assurance about the quality of food, he is consuming. The FSSAI guidelines and regulations for health drinks are increasingly becoming stringent so as to assure people about food safety and no damaging effect is sustained by their bodies upon consumption of this food and drinks.
Any food business operator has to follow the regulations set up by FSSAI and assure the authority about the quality of the drinks he is manufacturing, selling and distributing in the market. Seeking FSSAI registration and license has been made mandatory precisely for the reason that the authority wants consumers to consume various food and drink products without any stress or fear of contamination or adulteration. The authority came into existence a few years back but its regulations have been made more stringent and binding in the recent times.