About 2.42 per cent of the 4,461 samples of different edible oils from 587 districts and four metros are found to be non-compliant with safety parameters, food safety regulator FSSAI said on Wednesday.
Releasing the findings of a nationwide survey conducted during August 25-27, 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said states have been asked to intensify the enforcement drives to prevent the adulteration in the oils.
The ministries of agriculture and food processing industries are being requested to integrate their efforts in eliminating the problem of contaminants through implementation of good agricultural practices and/or safe handling or processing techniques, it added.
“The results from this survey indicated that out of 4,461 picked samples, 2.42 per cent (108) samples were non-compliant on account of safety parameters, which included the presence of Aflatoxins, pesticide residues and heavy metals at levels higher than those prescribed by FSSR,” the regulator said in a statement.
In the quality category, FSSAI said about 24.2 per cent (1,080) samples were non-compliant with respect to the presence of hydrocyanic acid, and failure to meet the prescribed limits of Refractive Index, BR reading, fatty acid profile and iodine value, among others, across states and Union territories.
“Non-compliance in quality parameters indicates possible adulteration or blending with other oils or materials,” it said.
Another non-compliance observed in relation to quality was the failure to meet the shelf-life standards and prescribed standards of additives, it added.
According to the survey findings, instances of oil samples failing in one or more categories were also observed in different oil types across states/UTs.
In the label misbranding category, the FSSAI said about 572 (12.8 per cent) samples were non-compliant on fortificants claim like the presence of Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
Some oil types picked up from the market had label misinformation on their labels which were non-compliant with the FSSAI labelling requirements.
A meeting with stakeholders was organised on September 9, 2021, to share the key findings of the ‘oil survey report’ and sensitise different stakeholders about the safety and quality concerns associated with different oils.
The way forward for the state food departments, oil processing companies, concerned ministries and departments was also discussed during the stakeholders’ meet.
Around 4,461 oil samples grouped into 15 different oil types were picked by the food safety officers of various states from 587 districts and four metros.
These different oils were: mustard oil, coconut oil, palm oil, blended oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, groundnut oil, canola oil, rice bran oil, sesame oil, corn oil, flaxseed oil and any other non-listed oils.
These samples were sent to various FSSAI notified labs, where they were tested for safety, quality and misbranding parameters, in compliance with the existing Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR), it added.