INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has for the first time specified the identity standards for basmati rice varieties, including brown, milled, parboiled, and milled parboiled, to ensure the supply of standardized genuine rice in domestic and export markets.

Since “basmati rice is prone to many sorts of adulteration for economic benefits, which may involve, among others, the unreported blending of other non-basmati varieties of rice,” officials stated that these guidelines are expected to enforce quality parameters in the trade.

Geographical Indication (GI) tagged Basmati rice is a premium variety of rice cultivated in the Himalayan foothills mostly in Punjab. Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Jammu, and Kashmir and is universally known for its long grain size, fluffy texture, and unique inherent aroma and flavour.

In both the domestic and international markets, basmati rice commands a greater price than other types.

According to a formal statement, the FSSAI regulations on aromatic and long-grain rice are intended to develop ethical business practices and safeguard consumers’ interests both locally and internationally.

According to these requirements, basmati rice must have the natural aroma of fragrant rice and be free of chemical coloring, polishing agents, and fragrances.

“These standards also specify various identity and quality parameters for basmati rice such as the average size of grains and their elongation ratio after cooking; maximum limits of moisture, amylose content, uric acid, defective/damaged grains and incidental presence of other non-basmati rice, etc,” according to an official statement.

The FSSAI claims that it developed the standards following extensive consultations with dealers, exporters, processors, and relevant government agencies.

Around 8.5 to 9 million tonnes (MT) of Basmati rice are produced annually in the nation, of which 4 MT are exported, reports Financial Express.

“The FSSAI standards would improve compliance relating to quality standards in the Basmati rice trade,” VK Kaul, Senior Executive Director, All India Rice Exporters Association, told FE.

India accounts for two-thirds of the world’s Basmati rice supply. The country exported around 4 MT of Basmati rice worth $3.54 billion in 2021–2022.

The value of Basmati rice exports increased from U.S$ 2 billion (2.4 MT) in the preceding year to U.S$ 2.8 billion (2.73 MT) between April and November of the current fiscal.

The regulations will go into effect on August 1, 2023.

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