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On August 7, 2020, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) published file no. Stds/SP/(Contaminants)/Notification-1/FSSAI-2018 amending the food safety and standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) regulations, 2011. The regulation shall come into effect on July 1, 2021.

SAFEGUARDS | FoodNO. 167/20

 SG 16720 Cereals

On August 7, 2020, the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) published file no. Stds/SP/(Contaminants)/Notification-1/FSSAI-2018 amending the food safety and standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) regulations, 2011.  The regulation shall come into effect on July 1, 2021, in respect of the maximum limits for metal contaminants and mycotoxins.

Metal contaminants concern the toxicity of metals and exist primarily due to their bioaccumulation in the tissues of the body where they are taken up and stored faster than they are excreted. Four heavy metals are of particular concern in food: lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury. [1]

Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of mold (fungi). Molds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs, such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. Mold growth can occur either before harvest or after harvest, during storage, on or in the food itself often under warm, damp and humid conditions. Most mycotoxins are chemically stable and survive food processing. The most commonly observed mycotoxins that present a risk to human health and livestock include aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, fumonisins, zearalenone and nivalenol/deoxynivalenol. [2]

The Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, toxins and Residues) First Amendment Regulations, 2020 contains the following important provisions:

  • Chemicals described in monographs of the Indian Pharmacopoeia when used in foods, shall not contain metal contaminants specified beyond the limits specified
  • Food specified in the regulation shall not contain crop contaminants and naturally occurring toxic substances specified in excess of quantities specified
  • The regulations shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette, and food business operators shall comply with all the provisions of these regulations with effect from July 1, 2021

Specified maximum limits for metal contaminants, crop contaminants and naturally occurring toxic substances are different depending on the kind of chemicals used in foods and food categories. The detail of the specified maximum limits, you can see in the link [3] and this is a list, table 1, of those toxic substances that maximum limits changed.

Name of Metal Contaminants Name of the crop contaminants and naturally occurring toxic substances
Lead
Total Aflatoxins
Copper
Aflatoxin B1
Arsenic
Aflatoxin M1
Tin
Ochratoxin A
Cadmium
Patulin
Mercury
Deoxynivalenol
Methyl Mercury  
 
Chromium
 
Nickel
 
Selenium
 
Antimony

Table 1

This regulation will become effective on July 1, 2021. 

What do the changes mean?

This update has the potential to affect agriculture producers and food manufacturers. Any imported foods destined for India must not be found to contain metal contaminants, crop contaminants and naturally occurring toxic substances at levels exceeding the quantity specified. To ensure compliance with food safety regulations, food producers should seek professional advice.

SGS is committed to keeping you informed of regulation news and developments. Leveraging our global network of laboratories and food experts, SGS provides a comprehensive range of food safety and quality solutions including analytical tests, audits, certifications, inspections, and technical support. We continually invest in our testing, capability, and state-of-the art technology to help you reduce risk, and to improve food safety and quality. For more information, please visit our website: www.foodsafety.sgs.com.

For enquiries, please contact:

Naovarat Dachprasat
R&D Chemist, Food Technical Support Center
t: +66 2683 0541 ext. 2168, 2169

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