The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has made norms for nutrient function claims for edible vegetable oils and published the same in the official gazette under the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims) First Amendment Regulations, 2020. Food Business Operators will have to necessarily comply with all the provisions of these regulations by 1st July 2021.

The food regulator suggested nutritional claims for almost all varieties of edible oil being used in the country such as coconut, corn, cottonseed, groundnut, linseed/flaxseed, mustard/rapeseed (low erucic), mustard, olive, safflower, palm kernel, palmolein, rice bran, sesame, soybean and sunflower oil.

The claims includes, for instance-
For coconut oil: – ‘Contains medium chain fatty acids that are easily metabolized’ and ‘Contains Omega-6 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-6 PUFA, linoleic acid).’
For groundnut oil: – ‘Rich in Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid (MUFA) and Omega-6 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-6 PUFA) that helps to lower the cholesterol; also contains Tocopherols.’

For linseed/flax seed oil: – ‘Rich in Omega-3 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-3 PUFA, Alpha linolenic acid).’

For mustard oil: – ‘Contains Omega-3 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-3 PUFA); also contains Alpha linolenic acid as well as Tocopherols.’

For olive oil (pomace, extra virgin): -‘Rich in Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acid (MUFA) that helps to maintain blood cholesterol levels; contains polyphenols too.’
For sesame oil: – ‘Contains equal MUFA (oleic acid) and Omega-6 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-6 PUFA, Linoleic acid) in equal ratio, also contains Lignans and Tocopherol.’

For soybean oil: – ‘Contains Omega-6 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-6 PUFA, linoleic acid) and Omega-3 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-3 PUFA, alpha linolenic acid) in appropriate proportions as advised by RDA guidelines of ICMR; also contains Tocopherols.

For sunflower oil: – ‘Rich in Omega-6 Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid (Omega-6 PUFA, Linoleic acid as well as Tocopherols.’
Linoleic acid and alpha linoleic acids are essential fatty acids that help to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
Tocopherols, Polyphenols and Lignans present in edible oils serve as natural anti-oxidants.
MUFA and PUFA also help in maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.

The regulations also put in conditions for the claims to be made for the respective edible vegetable oil and reads, “Provided that FBOs may choose to use same or similar terms in the claim statements as provided in this Schedule while making sure that there is no change in the intent and meaning of the claim.”

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