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FSSAI against edible oil adulteration, fortification compulsory

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to take action against the unsolicited sale of adulterated vegetable oil. For this, they recently conducted a quality survey, across the country. They have also given guidelines for fortification of oils.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to take action against the unsolicited sale of adulterated vegetable oil. For this, they recently conducted a quality survey, across the country.

Edible Oil: FSSAI does Extensive Testing

The survey was administered by officials from the state food safety agency. At least 50 samples were collected from the metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Calcutta, and 6-8 samples were collected from each city and district, other than the metro.

They collected over 4,500 samples, of about 16 varieties of edible oils (including mustard, coconut, palm, olive, and blended oil). The samples were conducted from supermarkets, as well as local retail/grocery shops.

FSSAI shared with the Commissioners of Food Safety in all states / UTs the comprehensive instructions and SOPs for conducting the survey and the sample collection method. To educate them about the mechanism and protections to be followed faithfully at the State / UT level, a video conference facility was arranged. A 24×7 communication facility through a popular WhatsApp group was also built, for the convenience of the officials.

The final results of the survey will help identify key hot spots for adulteration of edible oils in different parts of the country and will intensify efforts at the state / UT level in the coming months to design targeted compliance drives. The purpose of the entire exercise is to ensure the country’s availability of pure and healthy mustard and other edible vegetable oils.

Fortification of edible oils

They have also made the fortification of edible oils with Vitamin A and D mandatory. The key issue of malnutrition in India was the driving force for this step. This will ensure that people belonging to different socio-economic strata will have easy access to fortified edible oil across the country.

To facilitate the industry, the Food Fortification Resource Centre (FFRC) within FSSAI will also provide the necessary technical support required to enable fortification of edible oil at the industry level, he highlighted.

Organizations in the development sector such as Benefit and FFRC have partnered with the oil industry to build their capacity for producing quality-assured vitamin A and D fortified edible oil. Currently, 69 per cent (7.94 MMT / annum edible oil) of pan-India-sold packaged edible oil is fortified.

Edible Oil Fortification webinar

A national Edible Oil Fortification webinar: From Pledge to Action has recently been facilitated to address key operational areas and challenges in this direction. It was jointly hosted in collaboration with Benefit by the Food Fortification Resource Centre under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The webinar was attended by many government officials, development partners, academia, and players in the edible oil industry.

Discussions were conducted during the webinar on the current edible oil fortification scenario in India and the further need to scale-up the process with appropriate quality assurance and control measures. The focus was also put on providing support to the edible oil industry for proper processes, building premix suppliers’ ability to produce quality premixes, and upgrading the state food laboratory ecosystem for large-scale, proper research.

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