May 27, 2023: Which sweeteners are these? What is FSSAI? Read on!
The local division of beverage giant Coca-Cola has appealed to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for approval to include stevia, a natural sweetener, in its products, marking a first for an Indian corporation.
Coca-Cola has asked for permission to utilise stevial glycosides (commonly known as stevia), either alone or in combination with related nutritive sweeteners sucrose, glucose, and fructose. This request was made in a joint application with Malaysian company Pure Circle, which specialises in extracting natural goodness from plants.
According to sources, Coca-Cola's submission to the regulatory agency listed a total of 15 product categories. Up to the time of going to press, the FSSAI had not responded to a mail regarding the beverage major's application.
But what is this FSSAI we keep hearing about?
FSSAI stands for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. It is an important organization in India that ensures the safety and quality of food that we consume.
It was established in 2006 by the Indian government to make sure the food we eat is safe and healthy.
Before FSSAI came into existence, different government departments were responsible for different aspects of food safety. But there was a need to bring all these responsibilities under one authority to ensure better coordination and effectiveness.
FSSAI is like a superhero that helps protect us from eating unhealthy or unsafe food. Just like how we have rules and regulations for many things, FSSAI makes rules for food. They make sure that the food we eat is safe, healthy, and doesn't harm us.
FSSAI sets standards for food items and checks if they meet those standards. They make sure that the food is prepared, processed, and packaged in a clean and hygienic way. They also check that the ingredients used are safe and of good quality.
FSSAI works with food businesses like restaurants, hotels, food manufacturers, and even the people who sell food on the streets. They inspect these places to make sure they follow the rules and guidelines set by FSSAI. If any food business does not meet the standards, FSSAI takes action to protect our health.
FSSAI also educates people about the importance of healthy eating and the right way to handle food. They want us to be aware of what we eat and make good choices.
So, FSSAI plays a vital role in making sure that the food we eat is safe, clean, and good for our health. They are like our food guardians, making sure we stay healthy and happy."
Additionally, CODEX Alimentarius, a global organisation established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, has yet to approve Stevia for use in a variety of product forms.
According to insiders in the beverage business, Coca-Cola's approach is likely to spark a tsunami of applications from related companies.
Acesulfame potassium, commonly known as Acesulfame K, and sucralose, generally known as Splenda, are additives that have recently been approved for use as a di-blend in carbonated water by the FSSAI. This opens the door for their use in carbonated beverages like Pepsi, Thums Up, and Coca-Cola as sugar alternatives.
di-blend is when two additives are combined to provide producers a sweetness level that is more similar to sugar. According to experts in food science, additives are regarded as being sweeter than sugar individually. When additives are employed together, producers are much more likely to obtain the "profile of sugar" than when they use them alone.
But critics argue that stevia is a superior substitution for the aforementioned. Vibha Varshney, a health researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, describes the substance as "herbal in nature, extracted from a plant called stevia rebaudiana."