The FSSAI has recently drafted proposals for amendments to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standard and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 relating to Fruits and Vegetables. The FSSAI has invited suggestions, views and comments from WTO-SPS Committee members within 60 days from the period beginning on 19 January 2016.
We have outlined what is different in these proposed standards as compared to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standard and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
- A new sub-regulation for canned tomatoes as a category has been proposed. The proposed standards are for canned tomatoes and tomato juice are only for products prepared for direct consumption, for catering or repacking or for further processing.
- For jams, fruit jellies and marmalades these standards do not pertain to products meant for further processing.
- Earlier standards for frozen vegetables were given cumulatively as one category but the new proposals have standards individually for frozen beans, frozen peas, frozen cauliflower and frozen spinach. Standards are for products that offer direct consumption without further processing, except for size-grading or repacking, if required. It does not apply to the product when indicated as intended for further processing or for other industrial purposes.
- The new standards are minutely detailed and a lot of emphasis has been laid on the fact that these fruit and vegetable products must not contain any blemishes. They types of blemishes have been defined in detail, including the not permitted and various kinds of extraneous matter, levels of metallic contaminants, insecticides, pesticides and levels of microbiological contaminants that are not permitted in each individual product category.
Canned tomatoes separate category in proposed new standards
The FSSAI has proposed a new sub-regulation under the category of thermally processed vegetables for Canned Tomatoes (Lycopersicum esculentum Mill). These standards will not apply to dried tomatoes or preserved tomatoes which contain other vegetables, pepper and onions if cause a change in flavour, taste and aroma of the tomato component.
Canned tomatoes will comprise the following style types
(i) Preserved, Whole, Peeled Tomatoes
(ii) Preserved, Non-whole, Peeled Tomatoes
(iii) Preserved, Whole, Unpeeled Tomatoes
(iv) Preserved, Non-whole, Unpeeled Tomatoes
- Tomatoes will be fresh, washed and clean, firm and ripe, of suitable variety and of uniform shape. They must be free from all blemishes and extraneous matter. Extraneous matter includes peels and in peeled tomatoes, tomato core and any other inedible matter. Blemishes are defined as any injury on the tomato scab from hail, frost, sunburn, insect damage, black spots or enzyme activity on the surface or any other physiological abnormality visible to the naked eye
- No artificial colour or flavouring agents can be used
- Canned tomatoes may contain natural spices and condiments, spice oils, aromatic herbs and their extracts, natural aromas and seasoning.
Tomatoes used for the purpose of canning will be
- Peeled, that is, tomatoes which are scalded, peeled and canned whole or non-whole.
- Unpeeled, that is, tomatoes packed whole or as non-whole without prior scalding and peeling.
- If the tomatoes are not whole then they must be described as
(a) Diced – tomato cut into cubes
(b) Sliced – tomato cut perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis in rounds with a regular thickness
(c) Wedges- tomato cut into four roughly equal parts
(d) Pulp or crushed or chopped – tomato crushed, ground or pulped
Canned tomato packing
- Canned tomatoes may be packed with the addition of a liquid medium or packed as a solid without an added liquid.
- The liquid used for covering could be water, tomato juice, tomato paste or puree.
- Common salt content must not be more than 3 per cent of the net weight.
- Natural chloride content will be taken as 2 per cent of the dry mass content
- Firming agent like calcium chloride may be added but the total calcium-ion content must not exceed 0·045 per cent in whole tomato type while for non-whole of all types it must be 0·080 per cent
- The pH of the covering liquid shall be not higher than 4·5.
- The standards have also defined Quality Factors that canned tomatoes must contain and these include colour, texture and uniformity in size, taste and flavour, absence of defects. The colour must resemble well-matured fruit free from discolouration caused by oxidation. Uneven pigmentation caused because of processing will not be considered as defects. The tomatoes must not have any other taste but only that of the tomatoes of the specified species. The peeled tomato must be fully peeled, while the unpeeled product must be intact. The standards also lay down
- the area of blemishes per kilogram of net tomato mass
- space between the head and content
- vacuum in the can
- mould count
- ppm limits of metal contaminants,
- residual levels of insecticides and pesticides and naturally occurring toxins
- microbiological requirements in the regulations
Proposed new standards for Tomato juice
The previous standards for tomato juice were not as detailed as the proposed standards. In these standards tomato juice has been described as juice that has been obtained from sound, fresh and fully ripe tomato containing a minimum of 5 percent by mass of total soluble solids exclusive of salt. The juices should be free of tomato skin and other rough parts but could contain finely divided insoluble solids from tomato flesh.
Composition and quality factor
- Tomato juice shall be derived from sound, fresh and fully ripe tomato with characteristic red colour but must not have any added colour
- Good flavour but no artificial flavours can be added and without foreign taste and must especially be free of the taste of burned or caramelized products
- Texture must be even and consistent
- The juice must be free of mineral impurities and must not exceed a limit of 0·1 percent of the dry mass content reduced by common salt.
- Permitted ingredients in tomato juice are common salt, sugar, dextrose, ascorbic acid, citric acid, natural spices, aromatic herbs and their extracts and natural aromas.
What’s different in standards for tomato juice?
The proposed standards specify the limits for metallic contaminants, the extent of vacuum required in the can, the amount of head space in the can, total amount of soluble solids excluding salt, mass of sodium chloride the limit of total titrable acidy, volatile acidity, pH, mould count and sugar content
Proposed standards for Jams, fruit jellies and marmalades
This Standard will not apply to products if they are
- intended for further processing such as those intended for use in the manufacture of fine bakery wares, pastries or biscuits
- labelled as intended for special dietary uses
- reduced sugar products or those with a very low sugar content;
- products where the foodstuffs with sweetening properties have been replaced wholly or partially by food additive sweeteners
- If the terms “preserve” and “conserve” are used then they are required to comply with the requirements for jam and/or extra jam as set out in this Standard.
The proposed standards have defined comprehensively terms used in the standards like jam, fruit jelly, marmalade, jelly marmalade, fruit, fruit pulp, fruit puree, fruit juice, aqueous extract of fruit, soluble solids, harmless extraneous vegetable matter, pit (stone), pit fragment, damaged fruit, weeping jellies and sugar crystallization.
- Jams and fruit jellies and marmalades can be prepared from a single fruit or in combination.
- The prepared fruit content in jams, jellies and marmalades shall be not less than 45 per cent by mass, except in the case of strawberry, raspberry and ginger jams when the minimum fruit content shall be not less than 25 per cent by mass. The minimum fruit content for cashew apples shall be 23 per cent and 8 per cent for passion fruit.
- When two or more fruits are used in combination, the mass of each fruit shall be not less than 10 per cent of the mass of the combined fruit ingredients
- substances that may be added to the products are cane sugar, sucrose, dextrose, and invert sugar, liquid glucose, sodium, potassium or calcium salts of citric and tartaric acid.
- Pectin derived from any fruit but limited to 1 per cent maximum may be used.
- Jams must have gelled consistency and must have the original colour of the fruit used.
- Jellies and marmalades must be reasonably uniform and have a gelatinous consistency. They must be clear, sparkling, transparent and have the colour which is normal to the type of fruit used and must not be syrupy, sticky or gummy and should retain the flavour or aroma of original fruit.
- Marmalades must have a uniform suspension of peel.
- Jams, jellies and marmalades must have a good flavour without burn, no weeping, crystallization, mould growth and shall show no sign of fermentation.
- The products must be free of extraneous matter like peels, skin, pits, pit fragments, etc.
- The total soluble solids content, in the case of jams shall be not less than 68 per cent by mass and not less than 65 per cent by mass in case of jellies and marmalades.
Proposed standards for frozen beans
Frozen beans will be of the species Phaseolus vulgaris L. and Phaseolus coccineus L. and the product will be fresh, clean, sound, succulent pods of the plants conforming to the characteristics of the suitable varieties of these two species. All strings and stems will be removed and the pods washed and sufficiently blanched to ensure adequate stability of colour and flavour during normal marketing cycles.
Types of frozen bean styles
- Whole beans are whole pods of any length.
- When transversely cut, 70 percent of Cut beans will be of 20mm to 65 mm length while short cut beans will be 10 mm but less than 20 mm long.
- Diagonal cut bean pods will cut approximately 45” to the longitudinal axis in which 70 percent by count of this units are more than 6 mm long.
- Sliced Beans will be sliced lengthwise or at an angle up to approximately 45” to the longitudinal axis, with a maximum thickness of 7 mm.
Extraneous Vegetable Material like bean stem, leaf, vine or other harmless matter that is not an ingredient must not be present. Pods must not have pathological or insect made blemishes. Minor blemishes can be of 3mm diameter while 6mm diameter and more will be considered a major blemish. Crushed, pods with ragged edges or with tough fibrous strings that detract from the eating quality are not to be permitted for standards.
Frozen Cauliflower must be of the species Brussica olerucea L. vur. botrytis L. and must be prepared from fresh, clean, sound heads which can be trimmed and separated into parts, and which are washed and sufficiently blanched to ensure stability of colour and flavour during normal marketing cycles.
Types of Cauliflower styles
- Whole which means the head will be intact but the base will be trimmed but can have small, tender leaves.
- Split means the whole head cut into two or more vertical parts.
- Florets (clusters) must be segments of the head at least 12mm across the tip of the greatest dimension. Large florets could measure more than 12mm but less than 30mm.
- Grey, brown or green discolouration on the flower disqualifies it but branches and stems with these colours are not considered discoloured. If the appearance is affected visibly it needs to be discarded.
Frozen Peas must be of the species Pisum sativum L. and must be prepared from
fresh, clean, sound, whole, immature seeds of peas which have been washed, sufficiently blanched to ensure adequate stability of colour and flavour during normal marketing cycles and which conform to the characteristics of the species Pisum sativum L.
Frozen peas, if size graded, shall conform to the following sizes
- Very Small Up to 7.5 mm
- Small Up to 8.0 mm
- Medium Up to 10.0 mm
- Large Up to 10.0 mm
Frozen peas can contain any or all of these ingredients sugars like sucrose, invert sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose syrup, dried glucose syrup, salt, condiments, spices and herbs
Visual defects in frozen peas
- Blond peas are white or yellow but edible should be only – 2 per cent by mass.
- Blemished peas which are stained or spotted should be only – 5 per cent by mass.
- Seriously blemished peas are hard, spotted or discoloured must be only – 1 per cent, by mass.
- Pea fragments, split, broken or crushed peas must make up only – 12 per cent, by mass.
- Extraneous Vegetable Matter like leaf, vine or pod material must make up – 0.5 per cent, by mass but not more than 12 cm square in area.
Frozen spinach will be of the species Spinaciu okrucea L. and prepared from fresh, clean, sound edible parts of the spinach plant conforming to the characteristics of the species Spinuciu oleruceu L., and which have been sorted, washed sufficiently and properly drained to ensure adequate stability of colour and flavour.
Various style definitions are:
- Whole Spinach (Loose Leaves) is intact spinach plant with root removed.
- Leaf Spinach are substantially whole leaves most of which are separated from the root crown.
- Cut-Leaf Spinach is parts of leaves of spinach generally larger than 20 mm in the smallest dimension.
- Chopped Spinach are parts of leaves of spinach cut into small pieces, generally less than 10 mm in the largest dimension, but not comminuted to a pulp or puree.
- Pureed Spinach also Spinach Puree is spinach that is finely divided or finely chopped or having passed through a sieve such that the leaf particles are less than 3 mm.
Visual Defects not permitted are
- Loose leaves that are detached from the crown
- Discoloration of any kind on the leaves or stem portions and which materially
- detracts from the appearance of the product or colour which is either light or dark
- Extraneous matter will be harmless grass, weeds and straw which are green and tender and also the flower bearing portion of the spinach plant and the solid area of the spinach plant between the root and the attached leaf
Quality factor and ingredients for frozen beans, frozen cauliflower, frozen peas and frozen spinach
- These frozen vegetables can have optional ingredients like sugar, sucrose, invert sugar, dextrose, fructose, glucose syrup, dried glucose syrup, salt, condiments, spices and herbs.
- All these frozen products must have a uniform colour and must be free from foreign flavour or odour, other than those imparted by any added optional ingredients. They must be clean, free from sand, grit and other foreign material
- Beans and cauliflower and must test negative for Peroxidase.
- Frozen cauliflower must be reasonably uniform white to dark cream colour which may be slightly dull and have a tinge of green, yellow or pink over the flower surface of the units. The stem or branch portions may be light green or have a tinge of blue.
- Frozen peas must be practically free from damage by insects or diseases.
- Frozen spinach must be reasonably uniform green colour, characteristic of the variety and must be free from fibrous material and for the styles of whole leaf and cut leaf not materially disintegrated due to mechanical damage. The product in pureed style shall be free from any dark particles or flower buds which affect the overall appearance of the product.