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FSSAI operationalises milk & products standards, leaves out tea topper
Saturday, 12 August, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in a recent development, has operationalised standards bringing a comprehensive range of milk and milk products under regulation. A notification issued in this regard also dwells into details like pasteurisation, composition and labelling.

A statement released by FSSAI states that this was done to revise all existing milk and milk product standards and harmonise them with the internationally acceptable norms - Codex. FSSAI added that a large number of stakeholders’ comments were taken into consideration for finalising these standards. The standards were made operational on August 2, 2017.  

Reacting to the development, some experts have opined that the new standards are not only comprehensive but better, as earlier standards for some products were over-rated. For instance, unlike earlier, new standards for cow milk are harmonised with the actual composition of cow milk that farmers get. This is a marked shift as it will encourage farmers to sell cow's milk as it is, without changing any of its aspects.

Binjan Patel, M Tech (dairy technology) scholar, SMC College of Dairy Science, Anand, explains, “The standards of milk are formulated based on the average milk composition that is obtained by the milch animal of that particular state, as milk composition is a variable factor which is dependent on multiple factors like climate, feed, geographical factors, breed that normally survives etc. that change from state to state, and hence, the state-wise categorisation is done. Earlier, cow milk's composition varied as per state, but the earlier standards for cow milk were slightly over-rated and it was difficult to meet them. The new standards will do a lot of social good for farmers at large and uplift cow breeding which was earlier discouraging due to non-conformance of the composition with specification.”

Patel adds that though explicit and comprehensive in definitions, the new norms have some lacunae. For instance, there are gaps like absence of standards for A2 milk, lactose-free milk products and tea topper.

With regard to packaging, Patel states that to an extent packaging and labelling requirements of milk are improved, especially, the clause of Mixed Milk, however in Frozen Dessert, the exact display of ingredient list can be done more explicitly. and in small packsizes the display of essential information needs a review.

All in all, according to the General Principles under the notification, foods shall be described or presented in such a manner as to ensure the correct use of dairy terms intended for milk and milk products, to protect consumers from being confused or misled and to ensure fair practices in the food trade.


Key Aspects Covered by Notification
Application of Dairy Terms
(a) General requirements -
The name of the food shall be declared in accordance with these regulations.

(b) Use of the term “milk”-
(i) Only a food complying with the requirement as specified in sub-item (e) of item 1 of this sub-regulation may be named “milk” of the notification.
(ii) Milk which is adjusted for milk fat or milk solid-not-fat content or both, may also be named “milk” provided that the minimum and maximum limits of milk fat and milk solid-not-fat content (as the case may be) of the adjusted milk as specified in sub-regulation 2.1.2 (Standard for Milk).

(c) Use of the names of milk products in food standards -
(i) A product complying with the standards of a milk product as specified in these regulations may be named accordingly;
(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of entry (i) above, the relevant milk product when manufactured from milk, the fat or protein content, or both, of which have been adjusted, provided that the compositional criteria in the relevant standard are met, may be named as specified in these regulations;
(iii) Products that are modified through addition or withdrawal of milk constituents may be named with the name of the relevant milk product in association with a clear description of the modification to which the milk product has been subjected:

Provided that the essential product characteristics are maintained and that the limits of such compositional modifications have been provided for in the standards concerned as appropriate (for example ‘lactose reduced’ milk or milk products, ‘cholesterol free’ ghee, etc.).

(d) Use of terms for reconstituted and recombined milk and milk products. -Milk and milk products may be named as specified in these regulations for the relevant milk products when made from recombined or reconstituted milk or from recombination or reconstitution of milk products.

(e) Use of dairy terms for composite milk products. -A product complying with the description given in sub-item(b) of item 1 of sub-regulation 2.1.1 may be named with the term “milk” or the name specified for a milk product as appropriate, provided that a clear description of the other characterising ingredient(s) (such as flavouring foods, spices, herbs and flavours) is given in close proximity to the name.

(f) Use of dairy terms for other foods -
(i) The names referred to in sub-items (b), (c), (d) and (e) of item 3 of sub-regulation 2.1.1 may be used as names or in the labelling of milk, milk products or composite milk products;

(ii) In respect of a product which is not milk, a milk product or a composite milk product, no label, commercial document, publicity material or any form of point of sale presentation shall be used which claims, implies or suggests that the product is milk, a milk product or a composite milk product, or which refers to one or more of these products:

Essential Composition and Quality Factors
The notification says that the milk of different classes shall conform to the requirements for milk fat and milk solids-not-fat, independently, as specified under the notification.

For Cow Milk the fat content was set at 3.2% and SNF  at 8.3%.

For Buffalo Milk the minimum milk fat was set at 6% while Solids non Fat content was at 9% for the state including Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Hayana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal while rest would have a fat content set at 5%.

For Goat and Sheep Milk, the fat content is set at 3-3.5% while SNF at 9%.

Amongst other milk, the composition  for Fat and SNF content in per cent was set as---

Camel Milk

All India

2.0

6.0

Mixed Milk

All India

4.5

8.5

Standardised Milk

All India

4.5

8.5

Toned Milk

All India

3.0

8.5

Double Toned

All India

1.5

9.0

Milk




Skimmed Milk

All India

Not more than

8.7



0.5


Full Cream Milk

All India

6.0

9.0


Labelling
Further, under the Labelling norms, the notification says that for pre-packaged milk or otherwise, if the milk is not pre-packaged and is offered for sale to the consumer, such declaration shall be given on the container from which milk is offered for sale to the consumer:
(i) The class of milk as per column 2 of table under sub-item (b) of item 2 of sub-regulation 2.1.2;

(ii) The heat treatment, as per the item (1) of sub-regulation 2.1.2, to which product has been subjected to.

(b) If the milk from any milch animal, mixed milk or skimmed milk is offered for sale to the consumer without any heat treatment, the name of the milk shall be declared on the label of pre-packaged milk; or otherwise if the milk is not pre-packaged, the name of the milk shall be declared and mentioned on the container from which milk shall be offered for sale to the consumer and shall be preceded with the term ‘Raw’.

(c) In addition to the labelling requirements mentioned above, the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, shall apply to pre-packaged milk:
 
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