Home » FSS ACT » FSSAI proposes inclusion of Leporidae, rabbit family, in meat and meat products

FSSAI proposes inclusion of Leporidae, rabbit family, in meat and meat products

FSSAI proposes inclusion of Leporidae, rabbit family, in meat and meat products

FSSAI proposes inclusion of Leporidae, rabbit family, in meat and meat products

The FSSAI has issued a notice asking for suggestions, views and comments from stakeholders by 21 March 2016 for inclusion of Leporidae under species of animal that provide meat for human consumption. The term “Leporids” is proposed to be included in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011 in sub – regulation dealing with Meat and Meat Products.

Previously the definition of ‘animal’ included only

  • Ovines (sheep family)
  • (Caprines (goat family)
  • Suillines (pig family)
  • Bovines (cattle family including buffalo, bison)
  • and ‘animal’ also included poultry and fish

In the proposed draft the FSSAI would like to include Leporids to this list.

About Leporids

Leporidae is a Latin word that means those that resemble lepus or hare. There are at least eight different genera in the family classified as rabbit. Therefore leporids includes meat from the rabbit family like hares and rabbits. Meat from the leporidae species includes meat from wild hares as well as from farmed animals. One of the most common types of rabbit to be bred for meat is the New Zealand white rabbit.

In the Middle Ages in Europe, monks domesticated leporids and since then rabbits became a source of protein which was affordable for the general public. Their fur also provided material for warm clothing. Rabbit meat is popular in many countries in Europe, countries in North and South America, some parts of Middle East and China. The annual meat production is estimated to be at least 200 million tonnes. The countries where rabbit meat consumption is highest are Malta, Italy, Cyprus, France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. In Asia- pacific rabbit meat is not as popular as yet as compared to these countries. The largest rabbit meat producing countries are China, Russia, Italy, France and Spain.

Rabbit meat is sold by butchers and in the supermarkets rabbit meat is sold as a frozen product. Rabbit products are labelled in three ways such as

  • Fryer (this is meat of a young rabbit of about 2kg)
  • Roaster (this is meat of a rabbit about 8 months old and weighing about 2.3kg))
  • Giblets which is the liver and heart of the rabbit

Compared with pork and beef rabbit meat is richer in high quality proteins and certain vitamins and minerals and has less fat. Fat in rabbit meat contains higher proportions of polyunsaturated linolenic and linoleic fatty acids. Rabbit meat can be used to prepare similar dishes to chicken. It is commonly used in Moroccan cuisine and in China it is used in Sichuan cuisine. Other popular dishes are stewed rabbit, spicy diced rabbit, barbeque style rabbit, and even spicy rabbit heads.

One thought on “FSSAI proposes inclusion of Leporidae, rabbit family, in meat and meat products

  1. Respected sir,
    I am a Rabbit farmer since 2005 at ,Malappuram Dist,Kerala. Rabbit rearing was done by most house hold women,self help groups,Ngos and kudumbashree units because they get an extra income for their family. But the recent orders regarding the broiler rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) has stopped them from rearing rabbits. There were around 12,000 such small farmer who either stopped or on it way to end this.

    I kindly request your kindness to approve the food safety and standards act,regulation 2.5.1 (a) relating Meat and meat products by inserting (Leporids).This will benefit many new farmers across the country.

    Thanking you Sir

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