In a recent move to collate points to approve non-specified foods and food ingredients regulations 2017 among other things, the apex regulator of the nation FSSAI sets up 3 new examination committee composed of experienced delegates.

In order to ramp-up the examination and segregation of products into categories of non-food and food, the competent authority has delegated the committees, also being asked to meet at frequent time brackets to discuss the matter in detail.

The food safety experts praised this move of examination committe by FSSAI saying and citing the need of it. Wherein FBOs are pouring new additives and unknown flavour enhancers in the edibles of which no data is available or else it is coming from abroad making it less familiar, the steps in the same wake by the FSSAI are highly welcoming. In some cases FBOs are using category of non-specified foods for which standards have not been given in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The food ingredients could be flavour, colour, additives, stabilisers, preservatives, stated industry experts.

“In the wake of so many regulations prescribing standards and the way things have to be done under the Food Safety and Standards Act had been put in place during various periods of time. Regulations for primary ingredient, additives, residues, milk and milk products, oil products including nutraceuticals and functional foods are standards and not just specification which means the way a type of food product would be regulated. Therefore an expert committee comprising three groups will enable assessment of applications in an efficient and time-bound manner,” they added.

Now these expert members depending on the food category in which the application is received could invite the Chairman of the concerned Scientific Panel as and when required.

The first Expert Committee comprises Prof. H P Sachdev, senior consultant, paediatrics and clinical epidemiology; Sita Ram Bharatia, Science and Research, New Delhi; Dr Suman Kapur, Dean, International Programmes and Collaborations, BITS, Pilani, Hyderabad campus; Prof. R K Khar, principal (retd), pharmaceutical scientist, BS Anangpuria Institute of Pharmacy, Faridabad; Dr Lalitha Gowda, former chief scientist, CFTRI; and Dr Supriya Bhalerao, Ayurveda, Interactive School of Research for Health Affairs (IRSHA), Bharati Vidyapeeth, deemed to be University, Pune.

Another Expert Committee has Dr Bikas Medhi, Professor, Pharmacology, PGI, Chandigarh; Dr V Kalaiselvan, Principal Scientific Officer, Indian Pharmacopeia Commission; Dr K Madhavan Nair, former scientist, Micronutrient Research Group, Department of Biophysics, National Institute of Nutrition, (ICMR), Hyderabad; Dr R K Marwaha, Scientific Advisor, endocrinology, International Life Sciences Institute, India, and Advisor, Project, Department of Endocrinology, AIIMS, New Delhi; and Dr Balkumar Marthi, former scientist in biological research, including food and nutrition, besides expertise in human studies, claims substantiation, analysis, GMP and HACCP.

Expert Committee 3 is represented by Dr D B A Anantha Narayana, expert member (retd), Indian Pharmacopeia Commission; Dr Renuka Munshi, professor, BYL Nair Hospital; Dr Prema Ramachandra, director, Nutrition Foundation of India; Dr Dheeraj Shah, Professor of Paediatrics, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; and Dr B Dinesh Kumar, Scientist- F and HoD, Department of Toxicology, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

FSSAI also handed referential sheets to the examination committee that how they need to proceed and raise an alarm when needed.The experts can seek clarification from FSSAI before granting approval and also could reject applications.

If need be, the Expert Committee could also refer the application to the concerned Scientific Panel for further safety evaluation or any other expert or institution for scientific opinion, according to Dr N Bhaskar, Advisor, Safety & Standards, FSSAI.

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