The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a set of draft regulations being the Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standards) Regulations, 2016, dated September 5, 2016 and published in the Official Gazette on September 6, 2016.
The FSSAI through the draft regulations intends to regulate both distilled and un-distilled alcoholic beverages such as brandy, beer, rum, vodka, whisky, wines, etc. The FSSAI has invited comments and suggestions on the draft regulations to be sent to it within a period of 30 (thirty) days from September 6, 2016.
The FSSAI by issuing regulations in relation to alcoholic beverages and setting out standards for the same has brought such beverages within the ambit of “food” in terms of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSSA). It will be interesting now to wait for the final regulations and standards to be issued by the FSSAI and also to understand the manner in which the FSSAI would enforce the regulations, as there have not been specific regulations governing alcoholic beverages in the past whether the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 or the FSSA.
The Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 have been amended, with effect from August 26, 2016, in relation to the radiation of food products.
The Food Products Standards Regulations, in terms of Regulation 2.13, set out the details in relation to irradiation of food such as the dose of irradiation, the products that could be subjected to irradiation etc. The amendment now has the effect of substituting the entire regulation and new provisions have been set out in relation to the radiation of food products.
Interestingly, the provisions in the Food Products Standards Regulations also set out the specific manner in which certain label declarations are required to be set out on such packages of food. The appropriate and consequent amendments have been made to the Packaging and Labelling Regulations removing the earlier details set out in relation to the labelling of food that has been subjected to radiation.
The Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations, 2011 has, with effect from August 26, 2016, been amended in relation to the prohibition of the use of carbide gas in the ripening of fruits and the manner in which blended edible vegetable oils may be sold.
The Prohibition Regulations have always prohibited the use of acetylene gas (commonly known as Carbide Gas) to artificially ripen fruits. The recent amendment to the Prohibition Regulations now permits fruits to be artificially ripened by the use of Ethylene Gas, however at a concentration of up to 100 ppm (100μl/L), depending upon the particular crop, the variety and the maturity.
In addition to the above, the Prohibition Regulations used to mandate that blended edible vegetable oil must be sold in sealed packages, with a volume of not more than 15 litres. The Regulations now have been amended whereby edible blended vegetable oil, whilst still being in sealed packages, be sold in quantities which must not exceed 15 kilograms.