New Delhi: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is preparing to launch a “food-‘o’-copeia”, or a crisp compilation of regulations and procedures that need to be followed while manufacturing and selling food products in India.
In doing so, India’s apex food regulator is drawing from a concept popular in the pharmaceutical industry, where a book called ‘pharmacopoeia’ serves as a one-stop guide for medicinal drugs, listing their quality specifications, effects, directions for use, and general requirements.
“To improve the compliance of food regulations, the FSSAI is working on the creation of 17 category-wise monographs — 16 based on product category and one based on general requirements — which would comprise the food-‘o’-copeia,” FSSAI CEO Arun Singhal told ThePrint.
The 16 product categories will include milk and milk products, fats and oils, cereals and pulses, fish and fish products, meat and meat products, and nutraceuticals, among others.
Currently, there are over 21 regulations covering food products, and combing through each of them to identify the standards that apply to different products is a tedious task for stakeholders such as field officials, food business operators (FBOs) and consumers. The food-‘o’-copeia is expected to resolve this challenge, Singhal said.
“The standards for a product or product categories are spread across various regulations and are not available in one place, right now. This requires stakeholders to source information from several regulations, making the process cumbersome and difficult,” he added.
“In this regard, it was felt that information about all the essential standards, if available in one place, would facilitate the roles to be discharged by field-level officials, laboratories, FBOs as well as consumers, effectively,” he said.
How is it being done?
As stated by Singhal, the food-‘o’-copeia will comprise two categories of monographs.
The general monograph will contain general requirements that have to be followed for all product categories, such as, labelling declarations, packaging, prohibition and restriction.
The 16 monographs based on different product categories will contain individual parameters that need to be complied with, including guidelines on additives and processing aids, labelling, prohibition and restrictions, and test methods among other essential requirements.
“One can choose their food category, based on which a monograph can be selected. The stakeholders won’t waste time reading the thick books finding the relevant stuff,” Singhal said.
To devise the monographs, the authority is utilising the expertise available with the specialised institutes under the government-run Network for Scientific Co-operation for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (NetSCoFAN), an FSSAI project aimed at engaging academic help to meet its objectives.
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