The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed the Central and state licensing authorities to strictly implement the limitation with respect to Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) prescribed by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for nutrients while granting licences to the FBOs for products such as health supplements and nutraceuticals governed under Section 22 of the FSS Act. The apex food authority has also asked state administrations to take strict action against the FBOs failing to comply with the recommendations with respect to RDA. In an order, FSSAI has stated that all Central as well as state licensing authorities are hereby advised to strictly implement the limitation of ‘Not More than One RDA’ as per Section 22 of the FSS Act and the FSS (Health Supplement, Nutraceuticals, Foods for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations, 2016, while granting the licences to the FBOs except for the food for special medical purpose and food for special dietary use, where use of more than one RDA is permitted. The state authorities were also directed to undertake a review of the RDAs mentioned by the FBOs in the existing licences issued by their offices for health supplements, nutraceuticals and so on and issue notices to such manufacturers to direct them to undertake necessary modification in compliance with the FSS Act and Regulations thereunder. “The licensing authority needs to ensure that such products need to comply with the RDA limitations and stringent action may be taken against the defaulters,” reads the order. Sushil Khaitan, CEO & director, Purenutrition.me, says that while India currently is only 2% of the global nutraceuticals market, valued at US$209 billion, it does have tremendous potential for growth in the future. Additionally, the market is still at its nascent stage with a mix of old and new players. Khaitan said, “Hence, regulations such as these are a welcome move. In our industry, one of the key issues we face is quality control. Brands offering supplements at a lower cost may have artificial additives, which not only affect the efficacy of the products but may also have harmful effects on the user’s health. These stringent measures by the FSSAI will ensure that customers only get quality products.” He added, “Additionally, it will also realign manufacturing units and workforce to focus on a patient-first approach, rather than a sales approach; an absolutely essential point as the world faces a healthcare crisis. I also believe that nutraceuticals companies will need to allocate more resources and funds to research and offer innovative solutions to health issues. I believe this move will help the industry prosper and grow in the right manner.” According to FSSAI, it has received several complaints that many FBOs were flouting norms for the RDA and also the licensing authorities were ignoring the requirement under Section 22 and the FSS Regulations for Health Supplement, Nutraceuticals, Foods for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food.
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