Licensing, logistics norms for Ayurveda Aahara food products to be launched soon

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Licensing, logistics norms for Ayurveda Aahara food products to be launched soon
03-Jun-24 05:11:10

NEW DELHI:Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in consultation with the Union Ayush ministry, has drafted licensing and logistics norms for businesses that can manufacture and sell food products under the Ayurveda Aahara category, and will shortly release the guidelines, two top officials said.

Ayurveda Aahara (diet) food products don't contain drugs or medicinal products, but have ingredients that are believed to promote health. Ayurveda Aahara was notified in 2022 and includes five categories and around 800 ayurvedic recipes, and the norms governing their manufacture will be launched post elections, one of the officials said.

The regulations define “Ayurveda Aahara" as food prepared in accordance with the recipes or ingredients or processes as per methods described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda, and listed under ‘Schedule A’ of the FSSAI regulations.

Ayurveda a global matter now

“Ayurveda is now a global matter and there’s huge value to it. We must look at it from the commerce perspective. For that, we need to have a branding vehicle. We have drug and cosmetics vehicles. Globally, there are many food supplement products of Ayurveda, which is under the nutraceuticals category. There are so many recipes in Ayurveda and these recipes are all spread across the spectrum of different classical texts. So many of these are still in practice. For example, Ayurveda mentions ‘Shashkuli’, an ayurvedic fried item and now known as jalebi, as a recipe. Similarly, there are different recipes of ‘Krishtada’, now used as khichdi, for different diseases. The thought emerged from this," Ayush ministry secretary Rajesh Kotecha told Mint.

When we talk about Ayurveda, we only mention pharmaceuticals, but the scope of Ayurveda is beyond that. There are many principles and therapeutics other than pharmaceuticals. One of the interesting areas of Ayurvedic is ‘Pathya’. Pathya indicates proper lifestyle, food regimen, traditional, home-cooked food while Apathya involves being awake till late night, not doing physical exercises, eating anything anytime, no attention to food while eating etc.

"These are so much in detail that we need a vehicle to disseminate it, particularly in the recipes segment. When we decide to take an area forward commercially, there must be regulations, branding and a vehicle for the industry to look at this possibility," Kotecha added.

“After mulling over this, we discussed it with FSSAI and proposed to the ministry of health. During the convergence meeting, both the ministries have decided to have separate notification of the separate category of Ayurveda. This is the genesis. The notification is already out and now the final regulations are being drafted and will be launched soon. The specialty is that we have made several categories. One category being we have documented recipes mentioned in classical books and handed them over to FSSAI. Now it is notified as scheduled A. Any food business organization can opt for licence from FSSAI to prepare recipes from scheduled A and then sell it. There is another category which considers recipes and one can modify it with the ingredients mentioned and present it in a form which is palatable," the secretary said.

The move will create huge business opportunities and facilitation to the domestic and global community. These recipes are beneficial for health. Through this, Kotecha said, the government is also trying to revive some recipes involving some vegetables beyond wheat, rice, onion and potato which were in use 4-5 decades ago for a balanced diet.

“When a new law or notification comes out, rules are then formed to execute it. If we decide to do Ayurveda Aahara, it has enablement of having the possibility of Ayurveda. After it is notified, we will have to draft rules to implement it, involving logistic details like categories, who is eligible to apply and their business size, format of application, application fees, form of the label. The logistic details are being finalised, a committee is visualising it, involving Ayush ministry officials and it is at the final stage. As soon as the committee finishes their work, FSSAI will bring it out or formally launch it. We are just facilitating it with expertise and technical support, etc. The rules and regulations will involve how to define categories that are already notified, what would be the application format based on categories, who would examine it what would be the criteria and how to provide licensing and the duration of licence. It will be launched immediately after the election results," Kotecha informed.

Unlike Ayurveda drugs that are used to prevent or treat diseases, Ayurveda Aahar is a food product which may be taken by patients as well as healthy persons, and not as a medicine or a supplement. Ayurveda Aahar is intended to provide nutritional support and may provide therapeutic benefits as well.