Ayurveda regulations: India introduces new rules with sector braced for significant growth
The law, named the Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahara) Regulations, 2022, came into force earlier this month, following a draft notification and public consultation last year.
This move comes amid projections of significant ayurvedic growth in India.
According to a recent government-backed study, the Ayush segment (“Ayurveda”, yoga and naturopathy, “unani”, “siddha”, and homeopathy) is projected to grow up to 15% annually. It is estimated to have expanded from USD$18 bn in 2020 to USD$20.6 bn in 2021. It is expected to further expand to USD$23.3 bn in 2022.
Under the new regulations, published by the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FFSAI), “Ayurveda Aahara” is described as a type of food prepared following recipes, ingredients or processes, as per methods described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda listed under Schedule A of the regulations.
These include products which have other botanical ingredients under the concept of “Ayurveda Aahara” but do not include ayurvedic drugs or proprietary ayurvedic medicines and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances and herbs listed under other regulations.
Some of the 71 authoritative books listed for “Ayurveda Aahara” include the Abhinava Chintamani, Arka Prakasha, Arogya Kalpadruma, Arya Bishak, Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Samgraha.
The new rules stipulate that food business operators shall formulate “Ayurveda Aahara” following the specified categories and requirements, and manufacture the products in compliance with Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, 2011.
The regulations state that companies can’t manufacture or sell “Ayurveda Aahara” for infants aged up to 24 months.
The rules also prohibit the addition of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to the “Ayurveda Aahara”. However, if vitamins and minerals are naturally occurring in the product, they can be declared on the label.
Subsequently, food business operators may adopt the purity criteria for the ingredients as per the Food Safety and Standards Regulations or generally accepted by pharmacopoeias or relevant specifications.
Products covered under these regulations also shall contain only approved additives. Some of those that are allowed are Guar Arabic, pectin, konjac flour, honey, date syrup, curcumin, turmeric, rose oil and rosemary oil.
In relation to health and disease prevention claims, the rules state: “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”.
Meanwhile, every label of “Ayurveda Aahara” must specify the intended purpose, the target consumer group, recommended duration of use and other specific labelling requirements.
For instance, the words “Ayurveda Aahara” are to be printed near the brand or logo, an advisory warning stating “Only for dietary use”, a statement that stipulates “Ayurveda Aahara” is not to be used as a substitute for a varied diet, warnings, precautions, known side effects, contraindications and published drug interactions.
FSSAI will now introduce an expert committee under the Ministry of Ayush to recommend any new approvals that are not covered by the new regulations. This committee will have the power to address concerns regarding registrations, licensing, certification, laboratory accreditation, testing and quality issues.
Lastly, the food business operator should inform the authority in writing if its existing products are duly licensed to be assigned as an “Ayurveda Aahara” product.