The decision was made after receiving requests from food business operators (FBOs) to allow them to have a transition period. Renewals can be made until the end of June.
The additional transition period will also allow them to have the time to reformulating their children’s complementary foods to the new standards, as well as clearing the existing inventory.
Last October, the FSSAI announced that any complementary foods, except for Food for Special Dietary Use (FSDU) and Food for Special Medical Purpose (FSMP), for children between 24 to 36 months old would be categorised as ‘Formulated Supplement for Children’.
These supplements should contain the appropriate nutritional content to provide additional energy and nutrients to complement foods derived from local produce.
The production standards should adhere to the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Eleventh Amendment Regulations, 2018’s section on ‘Formulated Supplements for Children’.
This also means that children’s complementary foods can no longer be regulated as a category of proprietary foods – foods which are not standardised according to the Food Safety and Standards.
“No such products (children’s complementary foods) should be allowed henceforth under the category of proprietary foods in view of the sensitivity of the target group involved while processing applications for new license or renewal of existing licenses,” the FSSAI said.
At that point in time, FBOs who already have the proprietary license for making children’s complementary foods are supposed to modify the license before making any renewals “as early as possible”.
According to the new standards, children’s complementary foods such as cereals and peas will be affected.
In terms of cereal, we reported last January that the regulator had recommended for all milled cereals to be processed wit the purpose of lowering the fibre content for the purpose of eliminating ‘anti-nutrients’ such as phytates, tannins, lectins etc.
In terms of peas, legumes, and pulses, the FSSAI has recommended the fortification with L-methionine, an essential amino acid.
On the other hand, the products should not contain partially hydrogenated fats, although fats and oils may be added in adequate quantities for increasing the energy density of the product.
In addition, the regulator had also listed the ingredients which could be fortified in children’s complementary foods, including protein isolates and digestible carbohydrates.