The Maharashtra government has launched an enforcement exercise to crack down on use of performance enhancing drugs and other banned substances in health supplements, food regulator FSSAI today said and asked other states to take similar action. Addressing a seminar on nutraceuticals, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said the regulator has already provided the states a list of drugs banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). On widespread use of performance enhancing and other banned drugs in health supplements, he said, “It is a serious issue. We are working along with the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) to prevent this… A major enforcement exercise is going on in Maharashtra by state Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
“We require these efforts to be taken on an ongoing basis,” he said adding that other states need to follow the example of Maharashtra. India stands third in the world in doping violation cases and this is a “dubious distinction”, Agarwal said, while cautioning the food supplement industry to be aware of threat of use of doping substances. Earlier this week, the FSSAI had written a letter to the food safety commissioner of states/UTs on use of performance enhancing drugs in health supplements. It directed states to initiate special drive to check for use of such substances in food supplements.
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The regulator had noted that use of health supplements by youth and sportspersons is gathering popularity in India. It did not rule out the possibility of unscrupulous manufacturers adding certain performance enhancing drugs and other banned substances in these products. In case of any suspicion, the FSSAI had said that samples should be drawn and sent to NADA. “Action as provided under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 shall be initiated against defaulting food business operators,” it said.