The Central government has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahara) Regulations, 2022, stipulating standards and regulations related to food prepared in accordance with the recipes or ingredients or process as per method described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda. The Food Safety Standards Authority of India will form an expert committee under the Ministry of Ayush to provide recommendations and others.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued the final notification on May 5, for the new regulation, after issuing a draft notification which was published on July 5, 2021 and after considering the objections and suggestions from the public.
The regulation defines Ayurveda Aahara as a food prepared in accordance with the recipes or ingredients or processes as per method described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda listed under Schedule A of the regulation including products which have other botanical ingredients in accordance with the concept of Ayurveda Aahara, but does not include ayurvedic drugs or proprietary ayurvedic medicines and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances, herbs listed under Schedule E-I of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945. It should also not include metals based on ayurvedic drugs or medicines, B has a or pishti and any other ingredients notified by the Authority from time to time.
Recipes and ingredients specified in the Schedule A authoritative books for promoting health or to meet specific physiological needs including those foods specified for consumption during or post specified diseases, disorders referred as pathways in Ayurveda are covered under the regulations. It also allows industrial scale manufacturing and packaging of these foods though it should not be administered to infants upto the age of 24 months.
Vitamins, minerals and amino acids should not be added to Ayurveda Aahara and the natural vitamins and minerals present in the food naturally may be declared on the label.
“The labelling, presentation and advertisement shall not claim that the Ayurveda Aahara has the property of preventing, treating or curing a human disease or refer to such properties,” it said. However, food business operations shall make claims in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Advertising and Claims), Regulations, 2018.
Health claims and disease risk reduction claims for the different categories of Ayurveda Aahara and their approval process shall be in accordance with the requirements specified in the Ayurveda Aahara regulations. These foods need prior approval from the Food Safety Standards Authority of India.
The Authority will constitute an expert committee under the Ministry of Ayush consisting of relevant experts including representatives of FSSAI for providing recommendation on approval of claims and products as specified in the sub regulation in the new regulations. The Committee shall also empower to address concerns regarding registration or licensing or certification or laboratory accreditation or testing or quality issues related to Ayurveda Aahara.
The label of Ayurveda Aahara shall also specify the intended purpose, the target consumer group, recommended duration of use and the words “Ayurveda Aahara” printed in the immediate proximity of the name or brand name of the product with specific logo issued in the Schedule E of the regulation.
According to the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ayurveda describes four forms of food, namely Ashima (eatables), Khadija (chewable), Peeta (drinkable) and Leedha (lickable). Aahara, when consumed in appropriate proportions, helps in providing nourishment to body tissues, growth, development and enhancement of vitality.
“Aahara is considered as Mahabhaishajya (the superior medicine). Various lifestyle disorders and numerous diseases occur due to faulty dietary habits which may be prevented by proper Aahara and eating habits,” says an expert in CCRAS.