Raipur: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) proposal to change the standards dealing with chocolates by including the addition of vegetable fat in chocolates has come in for criticism with BJP leaders saying that it would adversely hit the interests of millions of tribal population in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand.
FSSAI has proposed changes to standards dealing with Chocolates in the category of ‘Sweets & Confectionery’ in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
FSSAI has given a broader definition of chocolate and the major proposed amendment is that it has included the addition of vegetable fat in chocolates.
Senior BJP MP Ramesh Bais and tribal leader and former minister Vikram Usendi, also an MP representing tribal Kanker Lok Sabha constituency, have written letters to Union minister JP Nadda opposing the proposal to add imported vegetable fats like Shea butter and Borneo Tallow to Indian Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBS)-used in making chocolate.
They said inclusion of these two items in the list would hit Indian vegetable oils and extracts of Sal and mango Kernel and others, which equally serve as substitute of these imported oil. The senior BJP MPs pointed out that Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand have potential of 55 lakh tonnes production of Sal seeds from which good quality of vegetable fat or butter is produced. Mango Kernel, which is exported to Japan, Malaysia and European countries for use on confectionery as cocoa butter equivalent, they said.
When contacted, Manorama Company, a Raipur-based exporter of Cocoa Butter Substitute (CBS) CEO Deep Saraf said, “India is abundantly rich in CBS, which are already enlisted in FSSAI’s proposed list and also being exported to European markets.
Is it justified to procure imported CBS like Shea and Barneo butters? Imported oils will waste precious foreign exchange and it goes against the spirit of Makein India.”