After the Maggi noodles fiasco, central food safety regulator FSSAI has proposed fixing limits of permissible lead content in a wide range of products including salt, fruits, juices, vegetables, pulses and meat products.
The latest notification has been issued following the FSSAI ban on Nestle’s instant noodles Maggi earlier this month after it was termed ‘unsafe and hazardous’ as tests found presence of lead and monosodium glutamate above permissible limits.
Lead is a highly toxic metal and a very strong poison. Its poisoning can cause severe mental and physical impairment.
The regulator has also brought more food items ranging from mineral water, salt, jam, fish and meat, among others, under the mandatory compliance of maximum limits of heavy metals – tin, arsenic and cadmium.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to amend the existing regulations and has come out with draft norms seeking public comments within 60 days, FSSAI said in a notification.
As per the draft norms, lead content for food items such as milk, salt, fruits and vegetables, including canned fruit juices, fish, poultry, meat and pulses, among others, has been specified.
To ensure Arsenic content in food items is maintained within permissible limits, the regulator has brought mineral water, fish, salt, olive oil, edible fats and oils, under its ambit.
Similarly, the maximum level of tin has been specified for cooked cured chopped meat products, including ham, pork shoulder and beef.
In case of cadmium, the regulator has fixed the limit in potatoes, wheat, rice, cereal grins, pulses, salt and mineral water, among others.
The FSSAI has also brought more food products to comply with permissible limits for mercury.
Prior to this, the FSSAI had come out a regulation in August 2011, specifying maximum permissible limits of heavy metal contaminants, toxins and residues in food items.
FSSAI had also ordered testing of noodles, pastas and macaroni brands such as Top Ramen, Foodles and Wai Wai sold and manufactured by seven companies, to check compliance with the norms.