Bengaluru: Consumers in Bengaluru’s supermarkets, already carping about the additional mark-up of 5% on packaged food products, thanks to GST, are likely to be hit by an even higher price rise in the coming days, if the new food standards that are in the pipeline become the norm. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has proposed new and strict standards for many processed foods that will improve food safety levels, but are likely to cost the consumers more.
The FSSAI has issued a notice asking for suggestions, views, comments etc from stakeholders on the draft notification related to standards of all pulses, whole and decorticated pearl millet grains, degermed maize flour and maize grit, couscous, tempe, textured soy protein, sago flour.
For instance, the standards are stringent for pulses, which are an everyday staple in most Indian homes. The common standards apply for all pulses, including lentil (masur), blackgram (urad), green gram (moong), Bengal gram (chana or chickpea), Kabuli chana, chhole gram (arhar), horse gram (kulthi), field bean, peas dry, soybean, rajma, lobia and matki.
The draft notification lays down stringent rules for moisture level, presence of extraneous matter, defective seeds etc.
No food additives including colouring are allowed. As for cornflakes,which are increasingly becoming the standard breakfast cereal in nuclear families and bachelor homes, the standards are rigorous. “Corn flakes means the product obtained from dehulled, degermed and cook corn by flaking, partially drying and toasting. It may contain any other ingredients suitable to the product whose standards are prescribed in Food Safety and Standards (Food Products and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011. It shall be in the form of crisp flakes of reasonably uniform size and golden brown in colour. It shall be free from dirt, insects, larvae and impurities and any other extraneous matter.”
Similar rigorous standards are laid down for semolina, soy nuggets and other food products. The new standards would mean that the food processing units would have to raise their quality standards, and perhaps even upgrade personnel and equipment, adding to costs, which are likely to be passed on to customers....