Functional Foods/Nutraceuticals in the recent years have witnessed a tremendous increase in the interest among the consumers due to their potential of providing health benefits. India is second largest producer of the food (next only to china), with plethora of nutritive and therapeutic compounds whose value is yet to be realized in modern market places. Although, there were multiple laws and regulations covering the foods in India, but there was no single law that could have significantly regulate the functional foods. In 2006, the Indian government passed Food Safety and Standard Act to integrate and streamline the many regulations covering nutraceuticals, foods and dietary supplements. The act calls for the creation of the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA). Once established, the FSSA will be charged with drafting rules and regulations for companies in the food sector to be licensed by local authorities, and a system of checks and balances, including product-recall procedures enforcements and penalties. Keywords: Functional Foods, Nutraceuticals, Health Supplements, Food Safety and Standard Act 2006. Introduction
Functional Food is the generic term related for food that has been linked to health benefits. The Institute of Medicine ’s Food and Nutrition Board (U.S.) has defined functional food as “any food and food ingredients that may provide health benefit beyond the traditional nutrition that it contains”. Functional food can be either from plant sources or animal sources. The term nutraceutical was coined in the USA and is used to describe foods or food components which have the potential to cure specific disease conditions.1- 4 Historically, in India multiple laws and regulation prescribed varied standards regarding food, food additives, contaminants, food colors, preservatives and labeling. India has recently passed food safety and standard act 2006 –a modern integrated food law to serve as a single reference point in relation to regulation of food products including nutraceutical, dietary supplements and functional food. The food safety and standard act has needed to still make considerably substantive with infrastructure and appropriate stewardship for it to match with international standards of U.S. and Europe.5 A significant augmentation is necessary for act to have magnitude of impact on India functional food and nutraceutical industry like the dietary supplements health education act (DSHEA) 1994 has had on dietary supplement industry in U.S. The passing of this Indian act is a significant first step; a lot more has to happen to eliminate the confusing overlap with old laws and regulations. Yet, in India functional foods/nutraceuticals are not categorized separately as in U.S, Europe, and Japan. And also, the concept of functional food is somewhat different connotations in different countries. In Japan, for example functional foods are defined based on their use of natural ingredients. In the United States however; functional food concept can include ingredients that are product of biotechnology.6 And in India these functional foods can include herbal extracts, spices, fruits, and nutritionally improved foods or food products with added functional ingredients.The present article deals with the history and present regulatory status of functional foods/nutraceuticals in India. History Of Food Regulation In India
India is the world’s second largest producers of fruits and vegetables but only a small amount of perishable agriculture products are processed approximately 2% in comparison of 80% in US.5 Barriers to growth on food sector include poor infrastructure and logistic and tight food regulation. The multiplicity of food regulation policy makers and enforcement agencies prevailing in different sectors of food industry contributed to considerable confusion among the consumers, producers, and retailers and business and such a...