Apex food safety regulator, FSSAI, has planned to strengthen clampdown against the sale of doped edible oil with surveillance of edible oil (both for branded and unbranded oil samples) throughout the country.

A quality survey has been run across the nation between 25th Aug. to 27th Aug. 2020, across all the states/ UTs. This nationwide survey was carried out for the first time with more than 4,500 samples and covered around 16 types of edible oil such as mustard, coconut, palm, olive, blended oil, etc. Various hilly as well as difficult terrains like Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Daman & Diu as well as Andaman (UT) have been strategically considered to be a part of this exercise so as to depict as integrated distribution of the sample size nationwide. The samples have been gathered back from hypermarkets/ supermarkets as well as retail and grocery stores and include national as well as local brands.

The survey has been conducted by the state food safety department officials. At least 50 samples were collected from the metro cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata and 6-8 samples each in cities and districts, other than the metros. FSSAI had shared the detailed guidelines and SOPs for conducting the survey as well as procedure of sample collection with the Commissioners of Food Safety in all states/ UTs. A video conferencing facility was arranged to notify them on the process and precautions to be followed meticulously at the states/UT level. A 24×7 communication facility through a common WhatsApp group was also organized for the ease of officials engaged therein.

An absolute strategy for testing of these samples via the State Food Testing Laboratories or FSSAI apprised food testing labs (including private NABL accredited) to review various parameters including fatty acid composition as well as doping of any other oils or harmful or irrelevant substance/ chemical has been developed. The test results are anticipated to be out within a month.

The final survey results will assist in recognition of the key hot spots for blending of edible oils in different parts of the country and will bolster the attempts at the states/UT level in formulating targeted implementation drives in the coming months. The whole exercise is focussed at ensuring the availability of pure and hazard-free mustard and other edible vegetable oils in the nation.

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