FSSAI to implement regulations for novel foods and draw clear distinction with medicines


In an attempt to include the new foods and health supplements into the purview of food safety authority, FSSAI has produced a draft through a notification. The notification is subject to objections and suggestions from public with in sixty days along with scientific evidence. The food categories included in the draft had minimal or no regulations, which are supposed to make long lasting impacts on the flourishing industry. The regulations, once implemented, will make clear distinction between food, medicines and supplements.

The draft can be accessed on http://goo.gl/ocYEbm

As senior official in FSSAI said “The draft is the result of discussions and research organised by the efforts of FSSAI for many months. Though, the draft is potent to change due to its nature and complexity, the implementation will start in less than a year. A deliberate effort was taken by the authority to have a clear line between food and medicine. The draft has a clear vision on labelling, composition and safety evaluation of health supplements. Traditional methods of health systems are also protected from misuse in the new set of regulations.”
The products included in the draft are Food or Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Foods for Special Dietary Uses, Foods for Special Medical purpose, Functional Foods, and Novel Food. The notification also include list of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, ingredients, additives and Nutraceutical sources as approved. The new regulations will completely ban the sale of Nutraceuticals or health supplements with therapeutic or curative benefits.

The draft reads “Every package of food or health supplements shall carry the following information on the label, namely the words “FOOD or HEALTH SUPPLEMENT”, the term ‘NOT FOR MEDICINAL USE’ shall be prominently written on the label, shall bear a warning “Not to exceed the recommended daily dose”.

The draft has clear guidelines on the composition of such food products, which reads, “The formulation of the foods shall be based on sound medical or nutritional principles and supported by validated scientific data, wherever required. No hormones or steroids or psychotropic ingredients shall be added in these foods. The labels shall clearly mention the purpose, the target consumer group and the physiological or disease conditions which they address, apart from the specific labelling requirements as mentioned against each type of food. The labels, accompanying leaflets /or other labelling and advertising of all types of foods, referred to in these regulations shall provide sufficient information on the nature and purpose of the food as well as detailed instructions and precautions for their use and the format of information given shall be appropriate for the person for whom it is intended.”

Dr. Prakash Kondekar, consulting naturopath, said “The scientific community is approaching the new draft with hope and finding potential for change in the system. We will be having conferences and discussions on the draft. The suggestions and objections will be definitely communicated to the authority. Laying clear distinction between food and medicine is one of the specialities of this draft, but standardization needs more research and clinical proofs for supplements. Restrictions on the claims can also have impacts on the way of marketing ‘new foods with health benefits’. Turmeric, for example, is a food addictive but can also be used a medicine to cure many diseases. But FSSAI is restricting to have curative or therapeutic claims about the food product to avoid confusion.”

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