Hyderabad: Animal origin ingredients and gelatine shells were found by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in health supplements and nutraceutical products sold in the market. The ingredients were not labelled as required and this misbranding and wrong labelling has been reported to FSSAI by independent food technologists who randomly test these foods in the market.
All state food inspectors have now been directed to collect random samples of these supplements and register cases against operators who are mixing non-labelled ingredients in these foods. FSSAI has also written to the state government recommending that those selling nutraceuticals (mix of nutritional and herbal pharmaceutical ingredients) and health supplements be checked from time to time to ensure that labelling regulations are adhered to.
Food labelling norms were changed in 2016, requiring nutraceuticals and health supplements to be labelled properly according to the categories defined. Parveen Jargar, joint director, regulatory compliance, FSSAI, says regulators have been given sufficient time to list the foods as for dietary use, medical purpose, functional foods and novel foods. “The labelling has to be accurate as it is found that these foods are highly preferred by health conscious people. They must know exactly what ingredients are in the foods,” he said.
Nutraceuticals are now under Codex regulations. Fourteen ingredients have been discontinued for lack of scientific data on their safety. These include raspberry, ketone, slica, paullinia cupana, pine bark, vitamin D3-veg, oxalobacter formigenes, phytavail iron and tea tree oil.
G.Raju, health inspector with the Institute of Preventive Medicine, says that currently health supplements are picked up for analysis based on complaints by customers. “We have so far got reports of growth of fungus, improperly packed containers and products. The misbranding complaints have been very few.”...