Welcome move of FSSAI on food categorization on e-portals ; by Jaishankar Jayaramiah

FSSAI advises E-Commerce Platforms to ensure appropriate categorization of food products sold on their websites

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Jaishankar JayaramiahToday E-commerce platforms play a significant role in selling food products in India. As the trend is picking up a t alarming pace, it is need of the hour to categorize them. FSSAi takes whip in this direction, writes Jaishankar Jayaramiah, Editor, The OnLook

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has taken important decision for the buyers to get more clarity and ensure transparency about the products.

The FSSAI has asked all e-commerce Food Business Operators (FBOs) to ensure appropriate categorization of food products being sold on their websites.

FSSAI has noted instances of food products licensed under ‘Proprietary Food’ with the nearest category – Dairy Based Beverage Mix or Cereal Based Beverage Mix or Malt Based Beverage – being sold on e-commerce websites under the category ‘Health Drink’, ‘Energy Drink’ etc.

FSSAI has clarified that the term ‘Health Drink’ is not defined or standardized anywhere under the FSS Act 2006 or rules/regulations made thereunder.

Therefore, FSSAI has advised all e-commerce FBOs to promptly rectify this misclassification by removing or de-linking such drinks or beverages from the category of ‘Health Drinks / Energy Drinks’ on their websites and place such products in the appropriate category as provided under the extant law.

Further FSSAI says that Prprietary Foods are items of food that are not standardized in Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations and Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food, and Novel Food) Regulations but use standardised ingredients.

The term – ‘Energy’ Drinks – is permitted to be used only on the products licensed under Food Category System (FCS) 14.1.4.1 and 14.1.4.2 (Carbonated and Non-carbonated water based flavoured drinks), standardized under sub-regulation 2.10.6 (2) of Food Product Standards and Food Additives Regulations 2011 (Caffeinated Beverage).

No doubt this corrective action will enhance clarity and transparency regarding the nature and functional properties of the products, ensuring that consumers can make well-informed choices without encountering misleading information.

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