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FSSAI proposes draft on non-carbonated water-based beverages
Monday, 24 October, 2016, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Pushkar Oak, Mumbai
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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a draft amending Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 for beverages. It proposed new regulations for non-carbonated water-based beverages (non-alcoholic), citing its microbiological requirements.

“This draft on non-carbonated water-based beverages cannot come at a more perfect time. There are almost 50-100 new companies poised and in the pipeline to enter this market in the near future. This amendment will give them a lot of clarity on what rules they need to comply with for their product to enter the market soon,” said Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs.

The proposed regulations will be known as the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2016.

The draft defined non-carbonated water-based beverages (non-alcoholic) as, “Those beverages which contain water and conform to the standards prescribed for packaged drinking water under these regulations without added carbon dioxide and may contain any of the following, singly or in combination.”

The draft stated single presence of the following or in combination:

Sugar, liquid glucose, dextrose monohydrate, invert sugar, fructose, honey, fruit and vegetable extracts, herbs, spices and their derivatives and permitted flavouring.

Added herbs shall comply with safety requirements as specified in the Act and the regulations made thereunder and shall also be declared on the label.

Only the food additives in accordance with the provisions of these regulations shall be used;

The products covered in these standards shall comply with the microbiological requirements given in Appendix B of these regulations;

The products shall comply with the packaging and labelling requirements as laid down under the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011

Microbiological requirements and toxicological analysis
The draft also said that the data of toxicological analysis needed to be provided for its approval for the herbs when added in the beverages.

“The draft also specifies that the beverage shall not include any psychotropic substance as defined in the Schedule to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985) and the rules made thereunder, and substances listed in Schedules E and E1 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945,” said Bhadri.

The draft also proposed the inclusion of microbiological requirements which will be added after Table 7  in Regulation 2.10 relating to beverages (other than dairy and fruit and vegetable-based), in Sub-regulation 2.10.6 after Clause 2 relating to caffeinated beverages.

Supporting the new draft on toxicological analysis, Bhadri said, “It is fantastic that they have covered the three main microbiological parameters, which are total plate count, yeast and mould and coliform count per ml.”

“Total plate count of not more that 50 cfu/ml may be a little stringent, since the source of contamination can be via air. Hence, maintaining this count can get a little tricky. Yeast and mould not more than two cfu/ml and total coliform absent in 100ml is perfect,” he added.

Microbiological requirements for non-carbonated

water-based beverages (non-alcoholic)


Parameters

Limits


Total plate count per ml

Not more than 50 cfu per ml


Yeast and mould count per ml


Not more than 2 cfu per ml

Coliform count

Absent in 100 ml



Bhadri concluded that these regulations were quite ample, as of now. “I am also happy to see the amendments about toxicological analysis with respect to herbs and psychotropic substances have been added. This gives a lot more clarity to the manufacturers and the entire industry on the different tests that need to be carried out and the different labelling requirements which are mandated. I think it’s a great step by FSSAI to clarify this, since it will give the entire non-alcohol and/or non-carbonated-based beverages a boost in their business,” he added.
 
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