ROLE AND PROSPECTS of NU­TRACEU­TI­CALS

The Food Safety and Stan­dards Au­thor­ity of In­dia (FSSAI) had in Novem­ber 2016, no­ti­fied new stan­dards for eight cat­e­gories of prod­ucts, in­clud­ing health sup­ple­ments and nu­traceu­ti­cals. It was done so as to en­sure that health sup­ple­ments should not be sold

Assocham Bulletin - - INDUSTRY -

How­ever , while ad­dress­ing the 'ASSOCHAM Na­tional Sym­po­sium on Nu­traceu­ti­cals', on July 6, 2017, Mr. Pawan Agar­wal, CEO, FSSAI, as­sured that the Au­thor­ity is in the process of ad­dress­ing con­cerns raised by the in­dus­try on the new stan­dards.

"I am tak­ing this op­por­tu­nity to re­as­sure the in­dus­try here that if there are con­cerns with the stan­dards we have re­leased, we are still open to chang­ing those stan­dards, mak­ing pro­vi­sions to ad­dress the con­cerns that you have", said Mr. Agar­wal.

He said that the stan­dards, which shall come into force from Jan­uary I, 2018, were re­leased by FSSAI af­ter very pro­longed de­lib­er­a­tions in the FSSAI by the sci­en­tific panel, sci­en­tific com­mit­tee and then the au­thor­ity.

"There are as­so­ci­ated stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions, and

the key amongst them be­ing la­belling reg­u­la­tions, claim reg­u­la­tions for which again the draft will soon be avail­able on our web­site and we will be very happy to get feed­back from the in­dus­try on those drafts", he said.

Mr. Agar­wal also ap­pre­hended that in­dus­try might have reser­va­tions re­gard­ing claims' reg­u­la­tions which will soon be put in place. These are some con­tentious is­sues, con­sid­er­ing that con­sumers' in­ter­est for any reg­u­la­tor is pri­mary. "I think that is non-ne­go­tiable. So any food sup­ple­ment man­u­fac­turer giv­ing any kinds of claims, has to be ex­tra cau­tious and as a reg­u­la­tor we have to en­sure that those claims are sub­stan­ti­ated with ev­i­dence."

On the la­belling, he said there may not be too many is­sues. He, how­ever, added that FSSAIhas been get­ting re­ports from the field that in­creas­ingly large num­ber of spu­ri­ous prod­ucts are avail­able in the mar­ket to­day.

"The chal­lenge with the food sup­ple­ments is that there is no ro­bust frame­work for their test­ing. There are also is­sues about good man­u­fac­tur­ing prac­tices", he rued. How­ever, a technical panel has been set up with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from food sup­ple­ment com­pa­nies to put to­gether the frame­work for Goods Man­u­fac­tur­ing Prac­tices (GMPs) for nu­traceu­ti­cals and food sup­ple­ments.

This will help bring greater clar­ity to have a more ro­bust ecosys­tem for man­u­fac­tur­ing, pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of food sup­ple­ments in the coun­try.

Though there are many com­pa­nies that im­port food sup­ple­ments and whiletheFSSAI in­tends to pro­vide them a lev­elplay­ing field but con­sid­er­ing the 'Make in In­dia,' cam­paign of the govern­ment, their fo­cus is on pro­mot­ing much of pro­cess­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing within In­dia. It is im­per­a­tive for both the in­dus­try and govern­ment to work to­gether to pro­vide a more ro­bust frame­work for growth of food sup­ple­ment and nu­traceu­ti­cals sec­tor in In­dia.

In his ad­dress at the ASSOCHAM con­fer­ence, Mr. J. P. Meena, Sec­re­tary,

Min­istry of Food Pro­cess­ing In­dus­tries (MoFPI) stressed upon the need to make the food sup­ple­ments and nu­traceu­ti­cals af­ford­able as about 43 per cent chil­dren across In­dia re­main mal­nour­ished while the sec­tor mainly caters to the mid­dle and up­per-mid­dle class con­sumers.

Not­ing the var­i­ous chal­lenges be­ing faced by the sec­tor like the need to gain pub­lic con­fi­dence and ques­tions raised as to whether the claims be­ing made by the man­u­fac­tur­ers are ev­i­dence-based, Mr. Meena said, "At­tempts are be­ing made to re­move these con­straints but I think the in­dus­try has to walk a lot of dis­tance to make it a pop­u­lar prod­uct, more so when health aware­ness is on the rise about pro­cessed foods, the trace­abil­ity will be­come para­mount."

He said that the only way to en­sure trace­abil­ity is to de­velop backward link­ages. "The present prac­tice of sourc­ing raw ma­te­rial from here and there, I think will have to corne over and get into or­gan­ised cul­ti­va­tion of plants re­quired for nu­traceu­ti­cals."

Mr. Meena also in­formed that MoFPI has par­tic­u­larly bee n fo­cus­ing on mak­ing farm­ers/ grow­ers partners in the growth story of food pro­cess­ing sec­tor.

"Un­less the ben­e­fits to some ex­tent are passed on to the farm­ers, I see that the future of in­dus­try will not be very sta­ble and we may not be able to face chal­lenges which will emerge in the future on ac­count of health con­cerns," he said.

"Sooner or later trace­abil­ity is go­ing to be an is­sue and ev­ery­body who is there in the food busi­ness may be re­quired to have cer­ti­fi­ca­tion on this is­sue and there lies ac­tu­ally the tie-up with the farm­ers," he added.

He also in­formed that with re­gards to ca­pac­ity ex­pan­sion and cre­at­ing new ca­pac­i­ties, MoFPI has corne out with a new scheme, 'Kisan Sam­pada,' whereby govern­ment will be in­vest­ing Rs 6,000 crore over next three years which should bring an in­vest­ment of about Rs 35,000crore in the food pro­cess­ing sec­tor as a whole.

"The chal­lenge with the food sup­ple­ments is that there is no ro­bust frame­work for their test­ing. There are also is­sues about good man­u­fac­tur­ing prac­tices", he rued. How­ever, a technical panel has been set up with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from food sup­ple­ment com­pa­nies to put to­gether the frame­work for Goods Man­u­fac­tur­ing Prac­tices (GMPs) for nu­traceu­ti­cals and food sup­ple­ments.

Mr. Pawan Ku­mar Agar­wal, CEO, Food Safety and Stan­dards Au­thor­ity of In­dia (FSSAI)ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence.

Mr. 1. P Meena, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Food Pro­cess­ing In­dus­tries re­leas­ing the Con­fer­ence Back­ground Pa­per along with (L-R) Dr. Om S. Tyagi, Se­nior Di­rec­tor, ASSOCHAM, Dr. Ram Vish­wakarma, Di­rec­tor, CSIR-In­dian In­sti­tute of In­te­gra­tive Medicine, Dr. B. K. Reo, Chair­man, ASSOCHAM Na­tional Coun­cil on Healthcare and Hos­pi­tals, Mr. Pawan Ku­mar Agar­wal, CEO, Food Safety and Stan­dards Au­thor­ity of In­dia (FSSAI), Mr. Amal Kelshikar, Coun­try Head & Gen­eral Man­ager-In­dia, Ab­bott Nu­tri­tion and Mr. Raj Sharma, Chair­man & CFO, MRSS In­dia Lim­ited at ASSOCHAM 3rd Na­tional Sym­po­sium on Nu­traceu­ti­cals in New Delhi.

Mr. 1. P.Meena, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Food Pro­cess­ing In­dus­tries ad­dress­ing the au­di­ence.

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