Exclusive - Chocolates may come under FSSAI scanner soon
New Delhi: After noodles and fast food, the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) may soon tighten its stance on confectionery food products as consumer concerns soars over health risks of children from processed foods.
Chocolates are the next food item to flash on the hit-list of the food regulatory body after the nationwide action on Maggie and other popular noodles brands.
The regulator's lenses may focus on major chocolate makers like Nestle, Cadbury, Candyman, Amul, Parle and Ferrero Rocher India. FSSAI may call for a review of their product quality.
Nestle shares fell 3 per cent on the news in a Mumbai market whose benchmark index Sensex was up 1 per cent at 3PM.
Sources in FSSAI told Bloomberg TV India that chocolate manufacturers can be under the FSSAI scanner for not complying with the Food and Safety Standards Rules 2011.
The FSSAI standards allow chocolate to contain only cocoa butter and no vegetable oil and fat whereas international food standards Codex permits just 5 per cent vegetable fat. However, most Indian chocolate manufacturers are alleged to fail this test as they may be adding more than 20 per cent vegetable fat in the chocolates making it a health hazard for millions of children.
The proposed move is a big step forward by the regulator to protect consumer interest and a stern message to food companies that unhealthy products can no longer be dumped in the world's second largest consumer market.
Recently, FSSAI set up an expert committee to regulate sugar, salt and fat content in food products extending it to the beverages as well as confectionery items.
Chocolate Manufacturers might have to review their products and the ingredients before projecting their chocolates as a standard product in the market.