Agri Business

SEA wants industry representation in committee on edible oil adulteration

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on June 22, 2020 Published on June 22, 2020

In an ongoing debate against adulteration in edible oils, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEA) has flagged the lack of industry representation in a committee formed by the Centre to look into the alleged adulteration in mustard oil.

The industry has recommended the government to ban the sale of loose edible oils with effective and strict implementation of the law.

“..somehow the law has never been implemented. The problem of adulteration can be very easily tackled by strict implementation of ban on Sale of Loose Oils. But over the years, extension after extension has been given and the implementation has remained only on paper,” said Atul Chaturvedi, SEA Chairman, in a letter written to the SEA members.

Last month, the union government had set up an inter-ministerial committee to consider sale of edible oils only in packaged form in retail markets. The committee was also considering to ban the sale of loose edible oils.

The committee is supposed to submit its report within a month.

Chaturvedi stated that the reasons cited by the authorities responsible for implementation of the law is that banning loose oil sales would harm the poor of India.

“This is a fallacy which has been talked about for ages and has done more harm than good to the poor of India. Do we want our poor to be cheated and their health compromised. This is skewed logic and it’s high time this argument is treated with the contempt it deserves,” Chaturvedi said.

According to him, the cost of packaging in India is also very low, which is ₹3-4 per kg. Further, all sales whether in packed or loose form should only be allowed between Registered Dealers, he said in the letter.

Chaturvedi also underlined the concerns of the edible oil processors on what constitutes blending and adulteration.

SEA also pointed out that the blending of oils is permitted by regulatory bodies such as FSSAI and Agmark who have prescribed very strict standards for product as well as labelling requirements. Blended Edible Oil provides several nutritional and health benefits and ICMR guideline also supports Oil rotation or Oil Blending for optimum nutrition.

Adulteration is clandestine and illegal activity carried out by unscrupulous players. As mustard oil is expensive, lower priced alternatives can be mixed to earn extra bucks. The strong pungent smell of mustard oil masks the identity of other oils. The perpetrators of adulteration are not only playing with the health of gullible consumers but also poor farmers as it ends up reducing the value of mustard seed, the SEA noted.

Published on June 22, 2020
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