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FSSAI removes provisions for testing purity of edible vegetable oil through Bellier Test
Friday, 08 January, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to remove the provisions for ‘Bellier Test’, which was used to find purity of edible vegetable oil.

The characterisation of oils is affected by several physical factors such as density, texture, colour, pacific gravity, refractive index etc. Also, chemical parameters such as iodine value, acid value, iodine value, saponification value, etc., are dependent on the source of oil, climatic, geographic, and agronomic variables of growth. This quantitative analyses of these variables on characteristics of oils and fats was done through Bellier Turbidity Temperature Test (BTTT) (acetic acid method), for identification of pure vegetable oil.

However, experts feel that due to the development towards hybridisation in oilseeds, reconsideration of BTTT was required, as inconsistencies were observed due to the presence of other vegetable oils (admixture of oils) in the oil sample.

Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs, a FSSAI-certified Food, Testing Laboratory and country’s largest Auditing Agency, says, “To ensure the safety of the product for consumption, monitoring and maintaining edible oil quality are of paramount importance. Hybridisation in oilseed is done across the globe in order to increase the yield. Therefore, an accurate purity test that does not get influenced by hybridisation must be in place."

He added that there are many techniques available to check for adulteration of edible oils. These include: Chromatography techniques (e.g., high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC), etc.), Spectroscopy techniques (e.g., near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, etc.), and Mass spectrometry methods (e.g., electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (ESI-MS)), etc.

“Needless to say, one must refer to the manuals issued by FSSAI before adopting any of the methods,” he added.

Meanwhile, the FSSAI has also notified the standards for fruit juices, (thermally processed and  non thermally or cold pressed juices). Under these standards the food regulator has notified the Total Soluble Solids in Brix (Min) and Acidity expressed as Citric Acid Max.(per cent) for 71 types of juices of fruits and mixed fruit juice.

The regulations also define Vegetable Juices including Thermally Processed Vegetable Juices (Canned, Bottled, Flexible Pack and/or Aseptically Packed) and Non-Thermally Processed/ Cold-pressed/ Fresh Vegetable Juices. 

Also, for Singhare Ka atta or Chestnut Flour, the FSSAI's regulation says that Water Chestnut flour means the product obtained by grinding clean, sound and dried nuts of Trapabispinosa or Trapaquadrispinosaspecies commonly known as Singhara.

The Characteristics Requirements for Chestnut Flour or Singhare Ka Atta. Moisture per cent (m/m), Maximum 12.0, Alcoholic acidity per cent (with 90 percent alcohol) expressed as H2SO4 (on dry basis), Maximum 0.18,  Ash insoluble in dilute HCl per cent (m/m), Maximum 0.5, Protein content per cent (m/m) on dry basis, Minimum 9.0 and Uric acid 100 mg/kg. 
 
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