The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an order to enhance the clarity and transparency of fortified food products, particularly fortified rice. This order directs declarations regarding source of iron salts prescribed for Vitamin and mineral premix & Fortified Rice Kernel (FRK). This order was issued on 30th October, 2023.
FSSAI framed the Food Safety and Standards (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018, addressing standards for fortified rice, along with the FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011, which prescribes standards for various components used in fortified rice products such as ‘Rice Flour for preparation of FRK,’ ‘Vitamin-Mineral Premix for Preparation of FRK,’ and ‘Fortified Rice Kernel,’ all of which were operationalized from June 23, 2022.
However, a concern has arisen regarding the labeling of fortified food products by Food Business Operators (FBOs), both in retail and non-retail containers. It has been observed that FBOs often only specify the nutrient name, such as “Iron,” without indicating the salt added, which may include Ferric pyrophosphate or Sodium Iron (III) Ethylene diamine tetra Acetate Trihydrate (Sodium feredetate – Na Fe EDTA). The absence of this crucial information in the ingredient list has led to challenges at the field level, affecting surveillance, implementation, and enforcement activities.
In response to these challenges, FSSAI emphasizes the importance of specifying the exact ingredients in the list of ingredients on labels or accompanying documents for both retail and non-retail containers. This directive is in accordance with the provisions outlined in the FSS (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020, and the FSS (Fortification of Foods) Regulations, 2018. By providing a detailed ingredient list, FBOs can ensure that consumers and regulatory authorities have access to accurate and comprehensive information about the composition of fortified foods.
FSSAI encourages all Food Business Operators to adhere to these guidelines and maintain compliance with the regulations to facilitate smoother surveillance, implementation, and enforcement of standards in the fortified food industry.