The use of the margarine, an emulsion of edible vegetable oil, water and not having less than 80 percent of fat, has increased immensely in hotels, restaurants and the places where edibles are prepared and served.
This is affecting the health of the people and the sale of the butter made from the cow milk, fetching financial loss to the farmers. The government needs to have control over the sale of margarine, demanded MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Gadkari had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the matter. Taking immediate cognizance of the demand, the Prime Minister Office (PMO) directed the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
which immediately issued clarification, directives and future course of action to control the use of the margarine in edible items.
The butter made from cow milk is nourishing for the health where as the margarine has a negative impact on human health due to the presence of the huge trans fat in it.
Besides, being cheap margarine is used as a substitute to the butter which has a negative impact on the dairy farmers and the milk collection has been affected unfavorably.
FSSAI has clarified that the limit of trans fats is fixed at not more than 5 per cent in bakery and industrial Margarine. The process is on for reducing the limit of trans fats in edible oils and fats not more than 3 per cent by 2021 and not more than 2 per cent by 2022.
It has been made mandatory to declare the quantity of trans fats and saturated fats on the labels of the margarine products where margarine is used.
In order to prevent any possibility of manufacturers of dairy analogues including margarine to mislead the consumers, FSSAI is amending the FSS (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 by including a specific definition for dairy analogue as margarine is also a dairy analogue and specifying the additional labeling criterion for such products.
The name of the product shall be clear as regards the true nature of the product, dairy term or phonetically similar or spell-like terms shall not be used in the nomenclature of the product and a declaration “This Is Not A Dairy Product” shall be made on the label. Along with this a provision is being introduced for use of a specific logo exclusively on the label of dairy product (butter) to differentiate the same from dairy analogue.
The use of the margarine and other dairy analogues in prepared food and serving such products at eating places or take – away joints without knowledge of the customers is a challenge as the product packaging (label) is removed from the product before use or serving.
To address the challenge the FSSAI is also working and exploring the options to ensure the consumers.
The restaurants and other eating joints must declare the use of dairy analogue, an enforcement drive to check for non-compliance by restaurants will be held, eating joints will be asked to inform the consumers about use of dairy
analogues in prepared food, creating awareness through guidance documents / FAQs, some other specific compositional, labeling requirements which may help consumers to differentiate between butter and Margarine will be taken in.
The initiative of Gadkari and immediate intervention by PMO will give respite to the consumers, save from health hazards and will increase the use of the butter made from cow milk helping the farmers as the procurement of the
milk will increase for manufacturing the butter and its use instead of margarine as its use is going to be restricted in the coming couple of years.