FSSAI norms for nutraceuticals, functional foods go into effect

28 November 2016 | News | By NFS Correspondent

Food Safety & Standards Authority of India Food Safety & Standards Authority of India

The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has operationalized the much awaited Regulation on Food or Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Uses, Foods for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Foods and Novel Food. This comes after long period of dialogue & deliberations between the regulator and Industry Stake Holders.  

After consistent rounds of meetings of Industry lead by IDMA Team with Ministry & FSSAI over the last 3-4 weeks, a milestone decision has been taken between the authority and Industry to operationalize FSSR 2016 which will be shortly accompanied with an order setting guidelines for Enforcement Officers.This was expressed by CEO, FSSAI to Industry stake holders present in large number in office of FSSAI.  

Sandeep Gupta, National Healthcare Spokesperson, HealthCare & Food Industry who leads as strategist and being top expert on leading Industry bodies like IDMA, Council of Soft Gelatin Manufacturers, FICCI, CII for Nutraceuticals, Health & Dietary Supplements mentioned that Industry for the first time also witnessed the Handholding of All major stake holders like IDMA, CII, FICCI, OPPI, FOPE, CIPI, NAC, COSGM and major others in the wake of public interest, to enable this critical decision of FSSAI which has been much awaited.  

Sandeep Gupta, highlighted that the delay in operationalisation of this order was mainly due to a trimming of the permitted list of ingredients which have already been Marketed in India for over 2-3 decades, causing grave concern of major implications on this new sunrise sector. The Indian Population would have equally suffered lack of access to such ingredients. He mentioned that Industry in an integrated manner with all stakeholders approached the Authorities to discuss in a transparent & consultative manner and represented this major issue, which was well received by the Chairperson, Ashish Bahuguna and Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO and they facilitated subsequent deliberations with the Standards Division where IDMA, OPPI, FOPE, CIPI submitted extensive details and evidence for consideration. It has been decided that the list will be taken up immediately with FSSAI Scientific Panel for their advise and Inclusion.  

Meanwhile, Industry and FSSAI took a decision that the Regulations should be operationalized which will benefit large section of Sector and help foster the operations of FBOs. In the interim, to bridge the gaps, FSSAI took a decision to release an office order to direct the FSOs and Enforcement Officers with clarity in implementing the regulations. IDMA acknowledge and have welcome this initiative of the Food Authority which resolves more than 90% of the issues of the sector.  

IDMA acknowledges and understands that the regulations are evolving and dynamic, amendments will be carried out in appropriate manner and with the provisions of FSSAct under section 18 2a(i) & 18 2a(ii) with 18 2d which shall help FSSAI to achieve its objective and Industry will meet its goals. As per the regulation a period of a 1 year (12 months) has been reasonably permitted by FSSAI to the Industry for effective compliance. This helps both in smooth transition to new regulations.

Industry appreciate this decision but has emphasised the need for fast track deliberation of missing ingredients which will have larger impact on Industry. They have been missed out, despite of being safely consumed in Indian Population with no safety concerns reported. When asked, Sandeep Gupta clarified that Nutraceuticals will fall under category 13.6 and all FBOs should get their licenses renewed appropriately under relevant category. He says this regulations has opened up avenues for start-ups who can apply now following the requirements of licensing and regulations. This is great encouragement for new businesses to be set up and SMEs will be the large beneficiary with such decision to spearhead the economic growth of this new sector. Along with already restructured GST policy which was another reforms in policy making of this government creating level playing competition for FBOs.  

Dr. R.K.Sanghavi who has been chairing IDMA having pioneering expertise in handling Nutraceuticals for than 3 decades and having introduced many beneficial & Innovative Nutraceuticals to human health since early 90s like Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Co-enzyme Q10, Evening Primrose Oil, Omega-3 appreciates the efforts and decision undertaken by FSSAI. He feels valued for his work through this regulation.  

Sanjay Mariwala, Managing Director of Omni Actives, a global Nutraceutical Ingredient player and who has recently taken over as Chairman Nutraceuticals Task Force at FICCI with lead experts in its committee congratulates FSSAI CEO, Pawan Agarwal and expresses that this a very positive move by FSSAI for enabling sector to see a bigger picture. He said, operationalising regulations will get the sector restarted to get set and introduce more and higher, better standards for Industry with quality supplements benefitting Indian Consumers.  

He expressed that the Industry needs to reach out to FSSAI to hand hold and enable self-regulated programs and modules for effective awareness building amongst the consumer of the needs and benefits of nutrition and nutraceuticals. Industry expresses that Nutraceutical Regulations has set the positive momentum, however office order yet to be released will decide its implementation for smooth transition over period of one year.  


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