Having framed safety standards for a variety of food products from honey to dietary supplements,the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is in the process of drawing up standards for alcoholic beveragesright from the amount of alcohol content to the quality of grain used to produce it.
The authoritys expert group is at present working on the draft standards and officials say if things go as per schedule,new standards for all kinds of alcoholic beverages spirits,wines and beer should be notified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by July 1 along with those for health drinks and caffeinated beverages (energy drinks).
…any item one ingests is to be classified as food. That is why we have decided to take up safety standards for alcohol. The standards will deal with everything from alcohol content to physical characteristics like boiling point,permissible amount of water,and even the quality of grains to be used for brewing beer. We will also frame standards for wines, said a senior FSSAI official. The standards will also deal with the permissible amounts of moisture in the beverage and presence of pesticide residues in the bottled product.
The FSSAI has been mulling standards for alcoholic beverages for several months now,but the Distillers Association of Maharashtra had moved the Bombay High Court challenging its powers to legislate on alcohol on the grounds that it is the prerogative of the states to legislate on alcohol and that there are already a slew of state laws governing the manufacture and sale of liquor.