INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is set to roll out new regulations for two important everyday consumption items – bread and beer.

The FSSAI CEO, Arun Singhal, said beer brands will have to disclose the calorie count per bottle or can while bread makers will be allowed to label products as ‘multigrain’, ‘whole wheat’, and ‘brown’ bread only if the items have specified amount of multigrain or whole wheat in them.

“With disclosure of calorie count on bottles, consumers can opt for lower calorie beer,” he said.

At present beer containers mention the alcoholic content by weight.

For bread to be labelled as whole wheat, it should contain at least 75% whole wheat, brown bread if it contains 50% whole wheat, multigrain if it has 20% multigrain, and garlic bread if it has at least 2% garlic in it, Singhal said.

In the previous year, the regulator issued a directive that all liquor bottles should display cautionary messages of “Drinking is injurious to health” and “Don’t drink and drive” on their labels, similar to the one on tobacco or cigarette packets.

The regulator had in 2018 notified a separate regulation for alcoholic drinks called the Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standards) Regulation, 2018 that applies on all distilled alcoholic beverages (brandy, country liquor, gin, rum, vodka and whisky, liqueur or alcoholic cordial), wines and beer.

In 2020, it issued a directive to include the addition of alcohol-free beer as a separate product category under the draft Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages) Amendment Regulations, 2020.

The inclusion of alcohol-free beer category in FSSAI standards will remove any ambiguity with regards to its classification/nomenclature, which was leading to delays in the introduction of new to market products from both national and international businesses, due to the lack of appropriate definitions and standards.

According to the directive, alcohol-free beer (alcohol by volume 0.0 percent), shall comply with the limits specified for regular beer for all other parameters.

FSSAI also permitted the use of new colours and additives in distilled spirituous beverages, as per the draft Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standard and Food Additive) Amendment Regulations, 2020.

FSSAI has signed memorandums of understandings (MoUs) with several states to strengthen the food safety and security systems.

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