The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued fresh guidelines under a new ‘Ayurveda Aahara’ category to regulate the food described in ayurveda texts. The new guidelines were formulated in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Ayush. The comprehensive rules will ensure quality of ayurveda food products and help expand the international market for Make-In-India products.
The ministry is confident that these regulations would strengthen India’s global positioning as a custodian of the Ayush system.
According to the new guidelines, manufacturing and marketing of ‘Ayurveda Aahara’ products will adhere to the Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahara) Regulations, 2022, and be available only after approval from the country’s apex food regulation agency. The agency has also created a special logo for the category to enable easy identification and reinforce quality.
The regulations make it mandatory for all food prepared following ingredients and processes described in authoritative ayurveda texts to be considered as ‘Ayurveda Aahara’. The regulations also cover the recipes and ingredients that promote health and specific physiological needs and foods specified for consumption during or post diseases and disorders, referred to as ‘pathya’ in ayurveda.
The Ayurveda Aahara label will specify the purpose, target consumer group, recommended duration of use and other requirements. The health claims and disease risk reduction claims and their approval process will follow the requirements specified in the regulations. However, Ayurveda Aahara will not include ayurvedic drugs or proprietary medicines and medicinal products, narcotic or psychotropic substances, cosmetics, and herbs. It is also not recommended for children below two years.
Ayurveda Aahara will need prior approval, in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Approval for Non-Specific Food and Food Ingredients) Regulation, 2017. The FSSAI will set up an expert committee under the Union Ministry of Ayush, comprising experts, to make recommendations on claims and products approval. The panel will also address concerns regarding licensing or laboratory accreditation or quality control issues related to Ayurveda Aahara.
The ministry said food safety and quality was a shared responsibility between manufacturers and consumers and everyone had a role to play to ensure the food was safe and healthy. The idea has been strengthened further with Covid-19 bringing the focus back on food, health, nutrition, immunity, and sustainability.