Food safety regulator FSSAI has decided to allow up to 5 per cent vegetable fats and artificial sweetener Isomaltulose in chocolates, a move likely to benefit importers. Currently, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allows use of cocoa butter in chocolates and not vegetable fats, whereas international food standards authority Codex permits 5 per cent vegetable fats. Import and sale of chocolates containing vegetable fats are not allowed in India. The food safety regulator has come out with the draft amendments to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2016 and sought public views on the same within 30 days.
As per the proposed amendments, the FSSAI has allowed use of vegetable fats up to 5 per cent other than cocoa butter in chocolates. It has also proposed the use of artificial sweetener Isomaltulose maximum at 50 per cent of the total sugar without adversely affecting the stability of the product. “The addition of vegetable fats other than cocoa butter shall not exceed 5 per cent of the finished product, after deduction of the total weight of any other added edible foodstuffs, without reducing the minimum contents of cocoa materials,” as per the draft amendments.
The regulator said these two additional ingredients should be mentioned on labels as per the FSSAI (Packaging & Labelling) Regulations, 2011. Experts said the use of vegetable fats in chocolates has been a bone of contention in imported chocolates as number of companies had their consignments withheld at the ports because of non-compliance of Indian standards for chocolates. They said though import and sale of chocolates containing vegetable fats are not allowed in India, some brands are selling them without using the term ‘chocolate’ on the packaging.