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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is proposing to bring in standards and labelling norms for traditional Indian sweets ( mithais) and namkeens sector. Sources said that the food safety authority has had several rounds of deliberations with the industry on the same. It is in the process of seeking stakeholder views on the draft Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulations, 2022 which is proposing these standards.

The draft regulation defines Indian Mithais as sweets and Namkeens as salty savoury products that are “traditional and innovative-based from Indian heritage and culture.” 

Categories

 The regulator is proposing standards categorising traditional Indian sweets into milk-based, non milk-based and composite sweets . Milk based- mithais include milk-concentration-based, channa-based and khoa-based mithais. Non-milk based traditional sweets refer to those that are grain-based, dry fruits, nuts and seeds-based mithais.

In terms of labelling norms, the draft regulation proposes that a mithai packages should have the name of the product (such as Khoa burfi) along with relevant categories (such as khoa-based mithai) on the label . In case of milk-based mithais,the Food Business Operator will need to declare the percent and type of milk solids under the list of ingredients on the label, the draft regulation stated.

The draft has also proposed standards for various categories of Namkeens including fruit and vegetable based, dry fruit and nut-based and composite products besides labelling norms.

Industry’s concerns

Industry players have expressed some concerns over the implementation and impact on the growth of the sector which has a large number of unorganised players. As per some estimates, there are over one lakh traditional Indian sweets shops in the country. In Namkeens sector too, there are a large number of regional and local players besides pan-India players.

Firoz Naqvi, Director General, the Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers said, “There is a wide diversity in consumption trends and recipes of sweets and namkeens in the country. For instance, we have over 2,000 varieties of Indian sweets. Implementation of the proposed standards will be very difficult in this fragmented industry and could end up adversely impacting innovation in the segments. As an industry association, we are trying to get samples of various mithais and namkeens tested so we can give as much data as possible to the authority in our comments,” he added.

Source : The Hindu Businessline 22nd Nov 2022