Herbal teas, gooseberry candies, and a host of immunity-building food products — products with Ayurvedic ingredients that have been taking up a lot of space in Indian shelves during the pandemic — are likely to come under the purview of new regulations.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is proposing to set new standards for claims and labelling norms for Ayurveda Aahar, a new category of food products. According to the draft regulations, the labelling, presentation and advertisement of Ayurveda Aahar products cannot claim they have the property of preventing, treating or curing a disease.
The food safety authority had been in discussion with the Ayush Ministry for the past three years on this, and has now notified the draft regulations for packaged food products made with ingredients based on recipes prescribed in authoritative Ayurveda texts.
While products such as herbal teas, sherbets, and badaam pak are among those likely to come under the purview of the regulations, according to sources, Ayurveda drugs/ proprietary medicines and medicinal products , herbs and food items that do not have any Ayurveda ingredient will not fall under the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahar) Regulations, 2021.
No added minerals/vitamins
Key provisions of the draft regulations also include standards for additives. The draft regulations state that only natural food additives should be used to produce these products and addition of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to Ayurveda Aahar will not be permitted.
It has also prescribed the upper limit for natural additives such as acacia gum, honey, jaggery, rose oil, keora oil, rosemary oil, date syrup, and molasses. “Food Business Operators shall make claims as per description or indications specified for the recipe or ingredient in the authoritative books. Such claim statements should be factual, not misleading or exaggerated and be of a documented history of usage. Disease risk reduction and/or health benefits claims shall be pre-approved by the Food Authority,” it added.
The Ayush Ministry will also set up an expert committee to make recommendations to FSSAI on approval for claims and non-specified products.
The food safety authority has also proposed a logo for Ayurveda Aahar products that will need to be displayed on labels along with the advisory stating, “Only for dietary use.” It has now sought comments from stakeholders on the regulations.