India's FSSAI proposes new rules for edible oils labelling

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

This move is intended to better enable consumers to make a more informed choice when purchasing manufactured or processed food products. ©iStock
This move is intended to better enable consumers to make a more informed choice when purchasing manufactured or processed food products. ©iStock

Related tags: Edible oils, blended oils, India, Vegetable oils, South Asia

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed the mandatory labelling of blended edible vegetable oils to indicate the exact percentage of the blend on the front of the pack.

This labelling will accompany other recently-proposed amendments to the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, regarding manufactured and processed food.

This move is intended to better enable consumers to make a more informed choice when purchasing manufactured or processed food products.

New oil​ labelling guidelines

In the draft regulations, the FSSAI stated: “Every package containing an admixture of edible oils shall carry the following label declaration immediately below its brand name, namely: Blended Edible Vegetable Oil.”

“The font size of the label declaration ‘Blended Edible Vegetable Oil’ shall not be less than 5mm:

“Provided that the font size of the label declaration shall not be less than 10mm, in case the net quantity of the edible oils contained in the packages is more than 1 litre.

“There shall also be the following declaration in bold capital letters along with the name of product on front/central panel: NOT TO BE SOLD LOOSE.”

The name and nature of each edible vegetable oil in its raw or refined form would also have to be clearly listed, together with its percentage by weight.

Following the Central Government’s approval of the draft regulations, notice was given in The Gazette of India with the amendments made public and feedback and comments taken into consideration for a period of thirty days, which recently came to an end.

Objections or suggestions were addressed to Pawan Kumar Agarwal, CEO of FSSAI.

Once the draft regulations are officially finalised, manufacturers of blended edible oils will be expected to comply.

The food regulator has also recently stated that it plans to finalise food labelling and display regulations for packaged food products​ — including proposed traffic light labelling for high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods — within the next few months.

Cooking oil to biodiesel?

Additionally, the FSSAI has been in talks with the Indian Biodiesel Association to establish a nationwide ecosystem for the collection of used cooking oil to be converted to biodiesel.

This comes as new regulations for the monitoring of “used cooking oils” came into force in India from July 1.

“Annually, about 23 million tonnes of cooking oil is consumed in India. There is potential to recover and use about 3 million tonnes of this for production of bio-diesel,” ​the FSSAI stated. This has an estimated value of about Rs18,000 crore per year.

Presently, used cooking oil is often disposed of in an environmentally hazardous manner, causing pollution and choking sewage systems. Furthermore, it sometimes finds its way to be reused by small restaurants and street vendors.

Related topics: Policy

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