FSSAI withdraws order prohibiting blending of mustard oil

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on December 14, 2020

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to withdraw its earlier order that prohibited the blending of mustard oil in the country. The order, which had asked edible oil companies to stop the sale and manufacture of blended mustard oil from October 1, had sparked concerns in the edible oil industry.

In September, the FSSAI had decided to operationalise the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Amendment Regulations, 2020, which stated that “no manufacturing or sale of blended edible vegetable oil with mustard oil as ingredient will be allowed with effect October 1”.

This had come after the Central government directed the FSSAI to prohibit blending of mustard oil and to ensure the availability of pure mustard oil for domestic consumption for consumers. Even as it operationalised these amendments in its draft stage, the FSSAI had sought views of industry players on the regulations.

However, in its latest order, the regulator said: “After due considerations of the representation of the stakeholders it has been decided to withdraw the direction…for operationalisation of the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Amendment Regulations 2020.”

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Edible oil industry players and bodies have been raising concerns regarding the prohibition, stating that it will have an adverse impact on their business. Industry players also pointed out that blending of mustard oil also enables them to offer their products at more affordable prices.

Sandeep Bajoria, CEO, Sunvin Group said: “The industry has invested huge amounts of money in setting up infrastructure for their operations, and suddenly an order prohibiting blended mustard oil was implemented. So the industry bodies raised concerns with the food safety authority that this was being done in a hurry and its impact on the industry needs to be reviewed.”

This development also comes at a time when a petition against this order is before the Delhi High Court. In October, the Delhi High Court had decided to put a stay on the implementation of the order that prohibits blending of mustard oil in response to a petition filed by a company challenging the order. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for December 18.

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Published on December 14, 2020

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