September 27, 2020

FSSAI: FSSAI strikes to cease use of phrase ‘milk’ on non-dairy merchandise

New Delhi: Manufacturers promoting soya and almond milk and non-dairy cheese and ice-cream might quickly must cease utilizing the phrase ‘milk’ on their pack labels.

The Meals Security and Requirements Authority of India (Fssai) has issued a brand new draft notification, proposing to forestall using the phrase on the pack of non-dairy and plant-based dairy merchandise. Its notification says the phrase milk ought to apply solely to animal-derived milk and its merchandise.

Dozens of manufacturers in India, together with well-known ones comparable to Hershey and Uncooked Pressery, and smaller ones like City Platter, Eat Soya and NatureVit promote packaged soya and almond milk, cheeses and soya-based milk powders in retail outlets in addition to on ecommerce grocery platforms.

Emails to Hershey India and Uncooked Pressery searching for remark remained unanswered until press time Monday. City Platter, Eat Soya and NatureVit couldn’t be reached for remark.

The India unit of The Hershey Firm, one of many world’s largest chocolate makers, sells a variety of plant-protein primarily based merchandise together with Sofit soy milk and almond milk. In June this yr, Hershey India, which additionally sells bite-sized chocolate candies Kisses, launched a brand new advert movie centered on ‘well being and wellbeing’ for Sofit to push gross sales throughout the lockdown.

Chilly-pressed juice maker Uncooked Pressery too has upped advertising for its almond milk in latest months, geared toward broad-basing its portfolio past the core juice franchise.

The nationwide meals regulator’s transfer hasn’t gone down nicely with nationwide animal safety entity Federation of Indian Animal Safety Organisation (FIAPO), which has written to Fssai chief govt Arun Singhal searching for withdrawal of the draft notification. FIAPO govt director Varda Mehrotra known as it “regressive and detrimental” to the curiosity of industries producing plant-based milk and cheese. “The time period milk has been used to consult with each dairy and plant-based milk in India since historical ages,” she stated in a press release.

Fssai’s Singhal stated the notification has been ready after intensive analysis. “It’s not doable for us to react to each viewpoint. The notification is open for searching for feedback for 30 days, after which it will likely be despatched to a scientific panel for feedback,” Singhal instructed ET.

FIAPO, who’s web site says it has 160 members and over 200 supporter organisations throughout the nation, stated it has raised the considerations on behalf of industries, shoppers and stakeholders who will likely be affected by the notification. The letter to the Fssai chief stated shoppers allergic to dairy merchandise have selections in plant-based milk choices comparable to almond, flax and soy milk, and that “excluding the time period milk from plant-based merchandise doesn’t serve any goal”.

RS Sodhi, the managing director of Amul, India’s largest dairy maker, stated FIAPO’s objection was “primarily based on sure business lobbies”. He added: “The transfer by the nationwide meals regulator is each consumer-friendly and farmer-friendly, and in keeping with worldwide definitions of dairy-based merchandise.”

A report by rankings and analysis agency Crisil stated income development of the Indian dairy business could be flat this yr on account of low gross sales of value-added merchandise, which bought aggravated due to the Covid-19 pandemic-driven lockdown. The business had logged a 10% compound annual development price prior to now decade.

Gross sales of value-added merchandise like ice cream, cheese, flavoured milk, curd and yogurt, that are extra worthwhile than liquid milk and account for over a 3rd of the organised dairy sector’s income, are anticipated to shrink 2-3% this fiscal yr, the report stated. The 2-month-long closure of lodges and eating places due to the lockdown halted institutional gross sales of value-added merchandise, which account for nearly 20% of the organised dairy phase’s income.