Agri Business

Supreme Court strikes down labelling norms for canola oil

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on January 24, 2018

Food Safety authorities have no mandate to order its re-labelling, says apex court

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on guidelines for labelling for canola oil. Subsequently, there will be also no restriction on canola oil imports.

The FSSAI had gone to the Supreme Court in appeal against a Bombay High Court order which, on a petition from Dalmia Continental Pvt Ltd, stayed guidelines for import of canola oil. Dalmia Continental is one of the largest importers of canola oil.

FSSAI had issued a guideline stating that all canola oil consignments be labelled as “Rapeseed oil – low Erucic Acid”. Following this, all canola oil imports were detained at the ports, forcing Dalmia Continental to move the Bombay High Court.

The Supreme Court ruling will allow importers of canola oil to call the edible oil by its name.

"The industry is free to call canola oil by its name and imports will no longer be restricted," said VN Dalmia, Chairman, Dalmia Continental Pvt Ltd.

Dalmia said the Supreme Court, on Monday, dismissed the special leave petition filed by FSSAI against the interim order of the Bombay High Court. The High Court, on September 16, had also ordered release of all Dalmia Continental’s canola oil consignments blocked at the ports.

The Supreme Court ruled that Dalmia Continental was in full compliance with existing laws and that FSSAI had no case for mandatory re-labelling of canola oil. Dalmia said the latest order of the Supreme Court represents a major victory for the industry which had concertedly resisted re-labelling of canola oil.

FSSAI officials did not respond when BusinessLine sought their views on the issue.

The industry, Dalmia said, had argued that the requirement to re-label canola oil was discriminatory since the same labelling requirements are not imposed by FSSAI on other types of oil. In the Standard for Vegetable Oils of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, ‘Rapeseed Oil – Low Erucic Acid’ is the product category and ‘Canola Oil’ is the synonym mentioned in brackets.

Several other oils are presented in the same manner in Codex. For example, ‘peanut/groundnut oil’ and ‘corn oil’ are mentioned in brackets alongside their respective product categories ‘Arachis Oil’ and ‘Maize Oil’.

However, both peanut/groundnut oil and corn oil are not labelled and marketed as per these product category names, Dalmia said. Canola oil has been imported under this name since 2007 . It is imported mainly from Canada and the inbound shipments are estimated at around one lakh tonnes both in crude and refined forms.

Published on January 13, 2015

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