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FSSAI defers implementation of new wheat & maida labelling regulations
Tuesday, 07 May, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Khyati Das, Mumbai
FSSAI has deferred implementation of the new regulations with regards to the labelling of wheat and maida products. The country’s apex food regulator has given an extension of a period of three months till July 31, 2019 for FBOs for the labelling of wheat flour as atta and refined wheat flour as maida on food products.

It stated that the decision to correct the labelling with respect to wheat flour was to give consumers more informed choices.

P Muthumaran, director, western region, FSSAI, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, said, “It is an initiative to give an opportunity to the consumers to make informed decisions on their choice, as many in the bakery and biscuit industry use wheat flour as the name of the ingredient in place of the term maida (which is a bit confusing for the consumers). Wheat flour and maida have different vertical standards, as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and standards thereunder.”

Earlier, the due date to comply with the order issued by FSSAI was April 30, 2019. It has been extended following the scenario in the industry, as representations were received from various industry associations and FBOs (food business operators) for the extension of the time period for the compliance of the order.

Accepting the representations from FBOs the period got further extension of three months.

The earlier order issued by FSSAI on wheat labelling stated that FBOs were asked to label atta as whole wheat flour and maida as refined wheat flour wherever it was used singly or as an ingredient in food items.

The order was issued because the FBOs were using the term wheat flour as the English nomenclature for maida on the label of the food products. That did not convey the exact nature of the ingredient used for the manufacturing of various food items to the consumers as well as enforcement officials, and now it has been decided that the nomenclature of Atta will be wheat flour instead of whole wheat flour.

In case the labels are in the Devanagari script, the businesses are allowed to use the Hindi nomenclature atta and maida for wheat flour and refined wheat flour, respectively.

Meanwhile, the state agencies are gearing up for the implementation of this regulations, and the three-month extension will also give the state food authorities time to make necessary arrangements for the surveys.

“As soon as the deadline is over, we will conduct checks on food products, and if any FBO is found guilty, strict action will be taken,” said Milind Deshpande, assistant commissioner (food), FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Maharashtra, Nagpur, adding, “Ignorance of law cannot be an excuse”. 
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