The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued an order appealing the state food safety authorities to conduct inspections with regard to the blending of mustard oil.

Recently the blending of mustard oil was banned by FSSAI and notification was released in this regard. As per the notification, the blending of mustard oil for manufacturing of multi-sourced edible oil has been banned from 8th June, 2021.

The FSSAI order states- “In order to ensure that prohibition is effectively enforced across, all the Commissioners of Food Safety and Central licensing authority are requested to carry out an inspection drive of all such units which were hitherto licensed for production of mustard blend edible vegetable oil or multi- sourced edible vegetable oil.”

The state-wise list of such units, which are authorized for blending edible oil, was also handed to the state food authorities for the purpose of inspection, while the state authorities were also urged to inspect any other unit which is not listed but engaged in blending of mustard oil.

The FSSAI has also ordered the state authorities to make sure that physical inspection of such units are being done to check if any blending of mustard oil is being done after 8th June. In addition, the state authorities were requested to advise and inform the licensees under their jurisdiction to reform their product portfolio in compliance with the prohibition.

Ashish Khandelwal, Managing Director, BL Agro Industries Ltd stated – “Considering the current practices associated with Blended Oil, it was imperative to ban it in public interest. Blended oils came into existence keeping in mind value addition to the existing cooking oils. Any single oil does not contain the ratio of MUFA and PUFA as per the standards prescribed by WHO. So to achieve those standards, blended oils came into existence. However, what actually happened in India was that under this cover, people started blending substandard oils. This way they could get their samples cleared. But these malpractices brought disrepute to the concept of blended oil.”

“Now the new nomenclature – ‘multi-source oil’ is perfectly fine but there should be one condition that only those people should be allowed to produce multi-source oil who are themselves producing at least one of the constituent oil. Only those having refineries of their own should be allowed,” he added.

Khandelwal further informed – “In the past, when people used substandard oil with mustard oil, the high pungency levels and the colour of mustard oil covered up the poor quality of other oils. And mustard oil does not crystallize so even if you mix it with any crystallizing oil, that will also work. So people took advantage of this. They used 10% of mustard oil and 90% substandard oils. That is why mustard oil should not be permitted to put in any kind of blend.”

“Only refined oils should be allowed to blend but in case also there should be condition that if 2 or 3 oils are being blended, one of the constituent oils should be produced by the blender themselves. And in any case, the rate of blended oil should be more than that of the initial oil.

Earlier people misused this process to produce cheap oils and that is the reasons why major mustard oil players stopped making blended oils,” mentioned Ashish.

At the end. Khandelwal concluded – “Even BL Agro also stopped making bended mustard oil although our blend was remarkable. The concept of blending mustard oil with rice bran oil was extremely good. So the permission may be given to produce such healthy blended oil like mustard and rice bran oil but with the condition that the producer of the blend should be either producing mustard oil or rice bran oil themselves.”

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