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FSSAI makes volte face on Dahi'

DECCAN CHRONICLE | G Babu Jayakumar & D Sekar

Published on: March 30, 2023 | Updated on: March 30, 2023

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. (Twitter/@mkstalin)

CHENNAI: The opposition by Chief Minister MK Stalin and many others to the insistence on the use of the Hindi word ‘dahi’ on curd packets prompted the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to make a quick volte face and withdraw the order and allow FBOs (Food Business Operators) to use the word ‘curd’ along with ‘other designation (prevalent regional common name) in brackets.’

So now the word ‘Thayir’ can go within brackets along with the term Curd in the labels of Aavin and in other states the terms ‘Dahi,’ ‘Mosaru,’ Zaamut Daud’ and ‘Perugu’ could be used, according to an announcement made by FSSAI through its Twitter page on Thursday.

The earlier ban on the use of the word ‘curd’ instructing all FBOs to mention ‘Dahi’ prominently on the packets and use the local terms in brackets had earned the wrath of many persons, including Stalin, who questioned the wisdom behind asking people to keep aside their mother tongue. The move was seen as a way of imposing Hindi on non-Hindi speaking States by many.

In its clarification, FSSAI said ‘General Standard for Milk and Milk Products’ under Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 clearly laid down guidelines for use of dairy terms in the nomenclature of dairy products and ‘related prohibitions for such use in non-dairy products.’

Now that the FSSAI had received representations on the omission of the term ‘curd’ it was retracting the notification dated January 11, 2023, and allowing for the use of the term ‘curd’ in the place of the earlier mandated ‘dahi.’

Besides the Chief Minister taking strong exception to the Hindi imposition through the word ‘dahi,’ the State Dairy Minister S M Nasar had made it clear that the State government had decided not to take cognizance of the FSSAI’s notification with regard to the term to be printed on curd packets.

Following the lifting of the old order, Twitter users, mostly from Karnataka, slammed FSSAI for its misadventures aimed at Hindi imposition and asked it to stick to its task of ensuring food safety.