FSSAI directs companies to label ‘maida’ as refined wheat flour

The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed food business operators (FBOs) to label Atta as Whole Wheat Flour (Atta) and Maida as Refined Wheat Flour (Maida) wherever the same is used as singly or as ingredient in food items

FSSAI directs companies to label ‘maida’ as refined wheat flour

The directive has come after it had been observed that many food-packaging companies have been labelling maida as ‘wheat flour’, which is not correct. FSSAI also directs firms to label ‘atta’ as whole wheat flour within three months.

This order comes after the food regulator observed that Food Business Operators (FBOs) were using wheat flour as a general English nomenclature for both ‘atta’ and ‘maida’ on food product labels.

FSSAI has stated that “using the term wheat flour for maida on the label of the food products does not convey the exact nature of the ingredient used for manufacturing various food items to the consumers as well as enforcement officials.”

The regulator has asked firms to comply with these requirements by April 30 (2019) and food safety commissioners

of states/UTs have been directed to not initiate legal action against errant companies until the threshold date.

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The FSSAI notice stated:

The issue of usage of the term Wheat Flour/ Whole Wheat Flour/Refined Flour, wherever the same is used as singly or as ingredient in food items, on the packaging label of food products has been examined in detail and following has been decided for strict compliance by food business Operators:

  • Atta should be labelled as Whole Wheat Flour (Atta) wherever the same is used as singly or as ingredient in food items. Maida should be labelled as Refined Wheat Flour (Maida) wherever the same is used as singly or as ingredient in food items.
  • Food business operators are directed to comply with these requirements by 30th April, 2019. Food Safety Commissioners of States/UTs are requested to ensure compliance of this order and no legal actions should be initiated in this matter till the implementation of the same as per the time line mentioned above.

The FSSAI has also directed the food safety commissioners to ensure that companies are in compliance with this order.

There are numerous products in the market that vouch for health benefits and of providing good nutrients through wheat flour, but it really needs to be mentioned whether the product used contains any maida for ‘informed’ dietary choices.