Since the past three years FSSAI has been in the process of developing food standards for food additives. The list of 11,000 permissible additives has been finalised and has become operational on 20 June 2016. Food Business Operators (FBOs) will now be able to use these permitted additives in foods without product approval from the FSSAI. Previously FBOs needed product approval from the FSSAI for using any new additives. This process took a long time but with standardisation of food additives FBOs will be able to manufacture products more easily.
The FSSAI has also removed the following two additives from the final list
- Potassium Bromate
Potassium bromate has been in the news recently as a cancer causing substance used in bread and bakery products. Cyclamates is used in jams, jellies, marmalades, dairy based drinks, confectionary etc. Henceforth these two additives will no longer be allowed to be used in any food category. The issue of the use of Potassium Iodate, another cancer causing substance, will be discussed at a Scientific Committee meeting to be held in a few days and a decision will be made about its use.
The completion of the list of permitted additives involved a huge exercise because the foods standards that existed under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,1955 had to be harmonised with the International Codex Standards. FSSAI’s ‘Scientific Panel on Food Additives’ shifted through 6,000 provisions of food additives under the PFA Act and after going through Codex provisions for food additives they finalized a list of about 11,000 provisions. This list was approved by the 15th Scientific Committee with modification in December, 2014 and 16th Food Authority meeting held in January, 2015.
On 15th August, 2016 a draft notification was issued by the FSSAI on the standards of food additives. FSSAI had invited comments and suggestions from stakeholders after the draft standards were released to the public. Stake holders had some issues with some additives and so from the list of 11,000 provisions for food additives 8000 were first operationalized in December 2016 and added to the pre-existing regulations in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. With the finalisation and operationalization of the new list of 11,000 provisions of food additives the previous list of 8,000 provisions of food additives as well as the pre-existing provisions in the regulations will now be replaced. FBOs have to now follow the standards as provided in the new list of 11,000 provisions of food additives operationalized on 20 June 2016.
The FSSAI has already notified specifications for proprietary foods so FBOs can manufacture and process new foods that may contain the standardized and approved ingredients in the Food Safety and Standards Regulations and may also use the food additives permitted in the new list of standard categories or sub-categories. FSSAI has also finalized a list of food additives with respect to alcoholic beverages in alignment with International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) Standards. With the operationalization of these standards FSSAI has achieved a major land mark in setting standards for various foods in the country.
Some issues with respect to the additives were received by the FSSAI after the finalisation of the list of additives. These issues will be discussed at the meeting of the Scientific Committee on 28 June 2016 that has been convened by the FSSAI.