FSSAI Releases Guidance Document For Industry On Spice

With the globally growing demand for Indian spices both as whole and processed, there were several challenges that needed focus of regulators, mainly for sustainability, traceability and safety standards. Food safety could be managed through modern processing technology & good hygienic and manufacturing practices. In an effort to help to reduce the risk associated with […]

With the globally growing demand for Indian spices both as whole and processed, there were several challenges that needed focus of regulators, mainly for sustainability, traceability and safety standards. Food safety could be managed through modern processing technology & good hygienic and manufacturing practices. In an effort to help to reduce the risk associated with Spices and assist manufacturers that wish to adopt a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach, FSSAI has developed the Guidance document on Food Safety Management System (FSMS) for Spice Processing which needs to be read in line to the regulations set by FSSAI.

The document is for guidance purposes only with no legal implications and covers subjects of post-harvest, pre-requisites of processing, in-process requisites and post-operative control.

The document is divided into five main sections:

  1. The first section gives an overview of the spices processing industry in India.
  2. The second section contains pre-requisite program which guides the industry on good manufacturing practices and good hygiene practices as outlined in Part II of Schedule 4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, which are required to be followed at each step in the supply chain, to ensure food safety. It is composite of establishment- design and facilities, control of operations, maintenance and sanitation, personal hygiene, product information and consumer awareness, training and management and Audit, Documentation and Record Keeping.
  3. The third section of this document is recommendatory in nature and provides the basic knowledge and criteria for implementation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system by the spices processing industry. This section includes the detailed manufacturing process with a process flow chart and relevance of main processing steps and two tables: Hazard Analysis and HACCP Plans. The tables of Hazard Analysis are expected to help the industry to identify the food safety risks related to each processing step, to identify the Critical Control Points (CCPs), recommended corrective actions and other related information. The sample HACCP plans could be used as reference by the industry and modified or altered based on their operations.
  4. The fourth section consist of Annexures and provides the inspection checklist for food business, FSMS Related Document & Record Templates for Medical fitness certificate for spice handlers, Form E or Form of Guarantee, Recommendatory Performas for monitoring records, supplier list, material inspection, vehicle inspection, product release, non-conformity, product recall, product identification & traceability, monitoring & measuring of devices and its calibration, equipment maintenance records, preventative maintenance, pest management, waste disposal, medical checkup, personal hygiene, visitor records, product information, consumer complaint and feedback, training and audits and inspection. This would help the FBOs to evaluate themselves based on the indicative scoring and maintain the internal records for the same.
  5. The last section gives important references and suggestive readings for more information on processes critical for food safety.

It is important to mention that India is the world’s largest producer and exporter of spices of the 109 varieties listed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), as the country produces and exports about 75 varieties of spices. Indian spices are known over the world for their aroma, texture and taste.

India primarily exports pepper, chilli, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, celery, nutmeg and mace garlic, tamarind and vanilla. Processed spices such as spice oils and oleoresins, mint products, curry powder, spice powders, blends and seasonings are also exported. India’s share in the world trade of spices stands at 45% in terms of volume and value.

Spices are considered the most valued product in the trade of commodities. The major exporting countries in global trade of spices are India and China and the major markets for consumption are USA and Europe.

In terms of the value of world trade, pepper, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, chilli, cinnamon nutmeg/mace, cloves, pimento and vanilla are the most important spice crops from tropical regions and cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, mustard, sage, bay, oregano thyme and mint are the spices crops from the non-tropical regions.

Reference:

  1. Food industry guide to implement GMP/GHP requirements for spices. Guidance document. Food Safety Management System (FSMS). Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. Dated- 23 Oct 2018

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