FSSA standards for Alcoholic beverages

In this article, we will discuss the FSSAI rules and regulations for Alcoholic Beverages that all FBOs have to abide by. FSSAI or the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) is an important regulatory body responsible for setting standards and regulating for all things that are related to human consumption. In the year 2018, it has released gazette notification for Alcoholic beverages regulations. It has clearly instructed the manufacturers, stakeholders and the marketers of the beverages industry to make sure they comply by April 1 2019.

To ensure proper health and safety of consumers FSSAI has released all new standards for alcoholic beverages. The FSSAI standards for beverages helped in setting up a new benchmark for quality. It also harmonized the Indian standard with the international standards to facilitate the trade in alcoholic beverages industry. In the past, the standard was available only for one alcoholic beverage i.e. Toddy whereas now the FSSAI has put standards for alcoholic beverages has set standards for all like brandy, rum, vodka, wines, whisky etc. The set regulations also include special labelling requirements for ensuring consumer awareness. This new move of FSSAI was well accepted by all stakeholders, as they thought this as a new opportunity to explore the unexplored areas of the alcoholic beverages in India.

The FSSAI standard for Alcoholic beverages categorizes the beverages based on their characteristics for the ease of defining and execution of standards. The beverages like Vodka, Feni, Brandy, Rum, Whisky and pot stilled distilled spirit along with their sub-types fall under the category Distilled Alcoholic Beverages. There is a separate category of wine and fermented beverages that includes table wine, sparkling wines, wines from fruits and the fortified wines. Beer is placed in a separate category, where different standards have been made for different types of beer like a lager, draught beer, ale, Stour etc. The parameters of physical and chemical safety have been defined in detail for each category.

The key labelling requirements include declarations and warnings like “Consumption of alcohol is injurious to health”. According to FSSAI, the labels for alcoholic beverages should have alcohol content declaration, warning about any allergen, equivalent number of standard drinks and other statutory warnings.

FSSAI has also imposed several restrictions. According to the new regulations, on alcoholic beverages, the nutritional information should not be displayed on the label and as well as there should not be any health claim. There are also restrictions on the use of words like non-intoxicating and other such words that depict similar meaning on the label. FSSAI has stated specific requirements  for the labels of wines, to state the geographical indication, variety of grapes used and the name of preservatives residues that are present in the final product.

The alcoholic beverage sector is growing at a rapid rate which can be seen from a large number of breweries and different brands of beverages. This is the reason the authority is taking measures to ensure the business is properly regulated and it remains in compliance with all regulations.

Reference

  1. Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages) Regulations, 2018 – https://archive.fssai.gov.in/dam/jcr:cd57d3d9-03fc-4b2c-bf94-8006bc4bb6de/Gazette_Notification_Alcoholic_Beverages_05_04_2018.pdf

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