The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has stated that food products not conforming with product standards specified by FSSAI, but are a combination of various standardised products under FSSA, do not require to apply under the Food Safety & Standards (Approval of Non-Specified Food and Food Ingredients) Regulations 2017.
This clarification by the apex food regulator has come in a recently-issued set of FAQs with respectto non-specified food products and the regulations thereunder. The FAQs havelooked at bringing clarity on various aspects of such products which are not falling under any standardised food product category.
The Authority has also stated that no products or ingredients from Genetically-Modified origin are permitted under FSSR, not even under the non-specified food category. Even, FSSAI shall not consider enzyme/ ingredient sourced from GMO.
FSSAI has said that it is advisable to comply with the quality standards of the product and in case of non-compliance with any parameter, the FBOs need to apply under the NSF regulations with clarity and supporting documents for deviating from the product standards specified under FSSR.
“The FBOs can submit a representation to the authority with relevant supporting documents for revising the particular parameter in the specific standard and the concerned scientific panel will deliberate upon it,” says the FSSAI statement.
According to the FSSAI, non-specified food and food ingredients are neither standardised nor fall under proprietary food category as mentioned under the FSSR. These foods are called novel food, novel ingredients, new additives, new processing aids including enzymes, article of food and food ingredients consisting of or isolated from microorganism, bacteria, yeast, fungi, or algae and any other non-specified food.
FSSAI has said that the additives specified in FSSR are harmonised with Codex and therefore the request to include or use the same in the category where it is not permitted will not be considered.
Similarly, the FBOs can only ask for a revision in limit of additives if the Codex GSFA revised the limits and not adopted by the FSSR.
The FSSAI has also urged FBOs dealing in non-specified products to furnish information on articles of food and food ingredients consisting of or isolated from microorganism, bacteria, or algae,while the FBOs are given 30 days to respond to queries of the authority from the date of issuing of the letter for the same.
The FSSAI has also asked FBOs to clearly mention in the application, the source, whether it is from animal, chemical, botanical, or microbiological, in regard to non-specified food or ingredients. Further the genus and species of the organism shall also be mentioned.