Hyderabad: With processed foods becoming more convenient and popular, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been trying to make sure that the products conform to set standards.
For example, the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) recommends that the total fat content in processed foods has to be less than 10 per cent. The FSSAI has asked the enforcement agencies to pick up random samples of packed products and ready-to-eat foods and check the fat content.
Food inspectors have to check both transfats and saturated fats in the total fat content, ensure that the quantities are within the 10 per cent limit and that this is listed on food labels.
The food processing industry, however, says it is not possible to gauge and fix the exact quantity of fat contents.
B. V. S. Mehta, who works in the food processing industry, explains why this is so. The edible oil content in foods, he says, “differs due to variation in different batches, multiple sourcing of crude oils, seasonal availability of oils and the variations in the fatty acid profiles due to different climatic conditions. Due to these factors, while fixing the limit is good for the consumer, we also have to ensure that the food does not get spoiled before it reaches the customer.”
The food processing industry wants more time to look into the matter and to conform to the new restrictions.
Akhil Agarwal, a food processor, says the industry requires at least three months “as it requires changing of labels and that is a time-consuming activity. Also, when products are transported from a region where the temperatures are 30 to 35 degrees C and brought into the heartland where temperatures vary from 35 to 40 degrees C, the food composition gets affected. Keeping these areas in mind, the oil content varies and sometimes it is more than 10 per cent to ensure that the food is intact.”...