Agri Commodities

FSSAI Sets Standards For Basmati Rice; Can Prove To Be A Boost For Rice Exports

Basmati rice is grown in the Indian subcontinent’s foothills of the Himalayas This rice is claimed to be special because of the unique agro-climatic circumstances and processing methods including harvesting and aging. In India, basmati rice can only be farmed in particular regions of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir. In India, there are thousands of different types of rice, including basmati. But this aromatic rice has sparked the greatest debate. As per FSSAI, in 2021–2022, basmati rice exports from India generated foreign exchange earnings of Rs 25,053 crore annually as two-thirds of the world’s supply of basmati rice comes from India. 

Since basmati rice is a premium variety and commands a higher price than non-basmati varieties, it is vulnerable to various forms of adulteration for financial benefit, which may include, among other things, the covert blending of other non-basmati varieties of rice. Therefore, the FSSAI has announced regulatory standards for basmati rice that were developed after thorough talks with the relevant government departments/agencies and other stakeholders in order to assure the supply of standardized authentic basmati rice in the local and international markets. 

Basmati Rice Standards 

For the first time in the nation, identity standards for basmati rice have been established to promote the business of basmati rice by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 12th January’23 to be enforced by 1st August’23. (including brown basmati, milled basmati, parboiled brown basmati, and milled parboiled basmati) 

The regulations, published in the Indian Gazette as Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) First Amendment Regulations, 2023, aim to establish ethical business practices in the basmati rice trade and safeguard consumers’ interests both domestically and internationally. The FSSAI hopes that the standards will safeguard consumer interests and guarantee that the Basmati Rice Supplied in markets has the distinctive scent associated with this variety and is devoid of artificial coloring and fragrances. Additional identification and quality criteria for basmati rice are specified in these standards, including the average grain size and elongation ratio after cooking, maximum moisture limits, amylose concentration, uric acid, faulty or damaged grains, incidental presence of other non-basmati rice, etc. 

The specifications apply to all types of basmati rice, including brown, milled, parboiled, and brown basmati rice. 

Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare tweeted about the standards, “This will establish fair practices in trade of basmati & protect consumer interest.”. 

Past Incidents 

In 2020, Pakistan objected to India’s application for a geographical indicator tag recognized in the European Union market, and the process was suspended. 

Prior to this, in 1997, RiceTec, a Texas-based corporation, created and patented American basmati varieties. These were introduced as “Kasmati” and “Texmati” on the global market. 

The foremost science and business body in India, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), however, challenged the patent in 2000, arguing that the name “basmati” could only be used for rice produced in India and Pakistan. 

The final ruling, which was made on August 14, 2001, insured that the US corporation could no longer use basmati in its name. 

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REFERENCE-

https://bit.ly/3w8o3SV 

https://bit.ly/3w67g2X 

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