India’s regulator issues new draft standards for infant nutrition

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

India’s regulator issues new draft standards for infant nutrition
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed new standards for infant nutrition, substitute foods, fortified atta (flour) and ingredients as part of a wide overhaul of its standards.

Under a gazetted notification for the Food Products Standards and Additives - Amendment Regulations 2013, the watchdog has asked for feedback from all the stakeholders on these proposed standards before September 5 this year.

For infant nutrition, the FSSAI has proposed new regulations that define substitutes for infant milk as milk protein between 10% and 16% by weight and total milk fat not less than 18%. 

In addition, the regulator has also proposed that lactose content in those products claiming to be “lactose-free​” by the dairy industry would not contain lactose at more than 0.05%.

Single cereals

The draft also has regulations relating to milk cereal-based complementary food for use in specific conditions such as protein being restricted—such foods will now only be allowed to incorporate a single cereal like rice or ragi (finger millet) and made available for use only under medical guidance. 

Moreover, such products shall be conspicuously labeled as “Processed mono cereal-based complementary foods for use in specific conditions under medical guidance only​.” 

Many ingredient standards have also come under overhaul with this new draft by the FSSAI. For example, the prebiotic fibre oligofructose can now comprise not more than 10% of the product. This ingredient can be used for dairy products like yogurt, spreads, frozen desserts, ready-to-eat dry breakfast and milk product-based sweets. 

Esters allowed

Phyto or plant stanol esters will now be allowed for products including milk-based drinks, fat spreads, juices, yogurts and spice sauces as long as consumption is limited to 3g per day. Consumption, the FSSAI proposed, could be in the form of one portion of 3g or three portions of 1g each. 

The ingredient trehalose has also been allowed for beverages, biscuits, macaroni, noodles, pasta, sweets and candies with an amount 0.5% to 20% depending on the product. 

Sodium iron (III) ethylene diamine tetra acetate has also been given the green light for use in carbonated fruit drinks, ready-to-drink beverages and fruit nectar, albeit restricted to 155 ppm. 

Amounts of nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid and niacin have also been defined under the proposed new standards for use in fortified atta and maida [refined wheat flour].

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