The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has planned to eradicate the provisions for ‘Bellier test’, which was employed to test the purity of edible vegetable oil.
The characterisation of oils is influenced by many physical parameters like density, texture, colour, pacific gravity, refractive index, etc. In addition, chemical factors like iodine value, acid value, iodine value, saponification value, etc., are based on the source of oil, agronomic, climatic, and geographic growth variables. This quantitative test of these factors impacting the characteristics of oils and fats was done via Bellier Turbidity Temperature Test (BTTT) (acetic acid method), for detection of pure vegetable oil.
Nevertheless, experts think that because of the development towards hybridisation in oilseeds, reconsideration of BTTT was needed, as inconsistencies were found due to the presence of other vegetable oils (admixture of oils) in the oil sample.
Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs, a FSSAI-certified Food, Testing Laboratory and country’s largest Auditing Agency states- “To validate the safety of the product for consumption, monitoring and maintaining edible oil quality are of utmost significance. Hybridisation in oilseed is done throughout the world so as to have a greater yield. Thus, a precise purity analyses that does not get affected by hybridisation must be recruited.”
He further said that there are several techniques present to look for adulteration of edible oils. Some such methods include- Chromatography techniques (e.g., high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC), etc.), Spectroscopy techniques (e.g., near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, etc.), and Mass spectrometry methods (e.g., electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry (ESI-MS)), and few more.
“It goes without saying that that one must refer to the manuals published by FSSAI before taking up any of the techniques,” he further added.
In the interim, the FSSAI has also issued the standards for fruit juices, (thermally processed and non-thermally or cold pressed juices). Under these standards the apex food regulator has released the Total Soluble Solids in Brix (Min) and Acidity expressed as Citric Acid Max.(per cent) for 71 kinds of juices of fruits and mixed fruit juice.
The norms also specify Vegetable Juices including Thermally Processed Vegetable Juices (Bottled, Canned, Flexible Pack and/or Aseptically Packed) and Non-Thermally Processed/ Cold-pressed/ Fresh Vegetable Juices.
Additionally, for Singhare Ka atta or Kuttu Ka atta or Chestnut Flour, the FSSAI’s guidelines declare that Water Chestnut flour refers to the product acquired by grinding clean, sound and dried nuts of Trapabispinosa or Trapaquadrispinosa species generally known as Singhara.
The Characteristics Requirements for Chestnut Flour or Singhare Ka Atta are:- Moisture % – Maximum 12.0, Alcoholic acidity % (with 90% alcohol) expressed as H2SO4 (on dry basis) – Maximum 0.18, Ash insoluble in dilute HCl % (m/m) – Maximum 0.5, Protein content % (m/m) on dry basis – Minimum 9.0 and Uric acid 100 mg/kg.