INDIA – In a study undertaken by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), over 15% of protein supplement samples that were evaluated for quality were found to be unfit for consumption.

The nation’s main food regulator, FSSAI, conducted the survey between 2021 and 2022 in an effort to curtail the sale and distribution of substandard dietary supplements, which have become increasingly popular among fitness enthusiasts.

The people who quoted the report’s conclusions claimed that 16,582 of the 144,345 samples examined during the survey were found to be poor, and 4,890 were found to be unsafe.

The individuals asserted that a further 11,482 samples had packing and labeling issues.

To gain muscle, protein powder is normally ingested as a dietary supplement, and formulations may include a range of additions.

According to the sources, the food regulator has filed civil lawsuits in 28,906 additional cases and has filed criminal charges against at least 4,900 other defaulters.

In addition to dietary supplements, the food regulator has been collaborating with stakeholders to implement restrictions on the distribution of nutraceuticals, which are marketed as non-prescription drugs but have the qualities of both prescription drugs and nutritional products, as well as to control ingredient mislabeling.

The FDA started limiting the sale of these items in 2016 by establishing regulations for eight categories of foods, which included encompassing extensive descriptions of their composition.

Health supplements, nutraceuticals, foods for particular dietary usage, foods for special medicinal uses, specialty foods including plants or botanicals, foods containing probiotics, foods containing prebiotics, and new foods were among the categories covered.

Food Safety Standards and Regulations, 2016, which became operative on January 1, 2018, said that these items could not contain any hormones, steroids, or psychotropic chemicals.

These goods may contain natural, nature-identical, or synthetic flavors per Schedule VF of these regulations and the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.

The amount of nutrients added to these food items must not go over the recommended daily allowance (RDA), as established by the FSSAI and accepted by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

In order to establish a Resource Centre for Health Supplements and Nutraceuticals (ReCHaN) in collaboration with the International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations, FSSAI also enlisted the help of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

It also started a conversation with stakeholders about adopting best practices from around the world.

“Quality assurance of products in the market is a primary concern of the food regulator and surveys are commissioned often to know the situation on the ground, e.g., a national level milk survey was also commissioned a few years ago that provided an insight into what was being sold in markets across the country,” said a senior central government official, requesting anonymity.

According to Hindustan Times, experts emphasized on quality checks for health supplements.

“Consumption of health supplements and micronutrients without medical supervision anyway can lead to health consequences, and if the quality of the product is substandard then it can further increase the harmful effects to your kidneys and other vital organs. FSSAI has become strict with regulatory compliance,” said Ritika Sammadar, Regional Head, Dietetics, Max Healthcare.

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.