FSSAI Survey on Dietary Supplements

A recent survey by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has found that 15% of food items including protein powders and dietary supplements used by athletes and bodybuilders in India are unsafe for consumption or substandard. The survey, which was conducted during 2021-22, found that 4,890 out of 144,345 samples collected were unsafe for consumption, 16,582 were substandard, and over 11,482 samples had labelling defects and misleading information.

Unsafe Protein Powders

Doctors warn that consuming unsafe protein powders, which are commonly used by young people to build muscle mass, can harm the kidneys, liver, and heart, and cause other health issues. In light of the results of the survey, FSSAI launched 4,946 criminal cases and many other civil cases. The authority has also initiated civil cases in 28,906 instances, resulting in the punishment of 19,437 offenders and the imposition of a penalty of ₹53.39 crore.

Regulation of Protein Powders and Dietary Supplements

FSSAI has notified specific rules to regulate the production and sale of protein powders and other dietary supplements in India. The food regulator regularly monitors food business operators, including protein powder manufacturers, by conducting drives across states.

Increased Demand for Dietary Supplements

Health experts have noted that dietary supplements have seen increased demand in recent decades globally, including in India. Many young people, especially athletes, use these products to build muscle. However, many of these so-called dietary supplements can be harmful to the body. According to researcher IMARC Group, the Indian dietary supplements market is expected to grow to ₹84,790 crore by 2027 from ₹37,630 crore in 2021.

Other Food Regulations

Apart from regulating dietary supplements, the food regulator has also been working with stakeholders to implement curbs on circulation of nutraceuticals, which are sold as alternatives to pharmaceuticals with properties of both pharmaceutical and nutritional products, and to regulate mislabelling of ingredients. In 2016, the regulator began the process of reigning in the sale of these products by formulating rules for eight categories of foods, which included carrying detailed descriptions of their composition.

The results of the FSSAI survey reveal the need for stricter regulations and monitoring of the production and sale of protein powders and dietary supplements in India. These products, which are commonly used by young people and athletes to build muscle, can be harmful to the body if they are unsafe or substandard. The food regulator has launched criminal and civil cases and imposed penalties in response to the survey’s findings, and has also implemented rules to regulate the production and sale of these products.




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