FSSAI conducted a Nationwide survey on edible oils from 25 to 27 August 2020. The purpose of this survey was to assess the ground realities concerning oil safety, quality and misbranding. In this survey, 4461 oil samples were grouped into 15 different oil types (Mustard oil, Coconut oil, Palm oil, Blended oil, Cottonseed oil, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower oil, Groundnut oil, Canola oil, Rice Bran oil, Sesame oil, Corn oil, Flaxseed oil and any other non-listed oils), from 587 districts across the country and four metros were picked by the Food Safety Officers of various States and UTs. These samples were sent to various FSSAI notified labs, where they were tested for safety, quality and misbranding parameters in compliance with the existing Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR).
The results from this survey indicated that out of 4461 picked samples: 2.42% (108) samples were non-compliant on account of safety parameters, which included the presence of Aflatoxins, pesticide residues and heavy metals at levels higher than those prescribed by FSSR. In the Quality category: 24.2% (1080) samples were non-compliant concerning presence of hydrocyanic acid, and failure to meet the prescribed limits of Refractive Index, BR reading, Fatty Acid Profile, Iodine value, etc. across States/ UTs and Oil types. Non-compliance in quality parameters indicate possible adulteration or blending with other oils or materials. Other non-compliance observed in relation to quality were failure to meet the shelf-life standards (Acid value, presence of moisture content, rancidity, peroxide value, etc.) and prescribed standards of additives (DMPS, TBHQ and BHA). Instances of oil samples failing in one or more categories were also observed in different oil types across States/UTs. In the label misbranding category, 572 (12.8%) samples were non-compliant on fortificants claim like Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Some oil types picked up from the market had label misinformation on their labels were non-compliant to the FSSAI labeling requirements.
A meeting with stakeholders was organized on 9 September 2021 to share the Key Findings of the Oil survey report and sensitize different stakeholders about the safety and quality concerns associated with different oils. The Way Forward for the State Food Departments, Oil processing companies, concerned Ministries and Departments was also discussed during the Stakeholders meet. All the States/UTs are being asked to intensify the enforcement drives to prevent the adulteration in oils. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Ministry of Food Processing Industries are being requested to integrate their efforts to eliminate the problem of contaminants through the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices and/or safe handling or processing technique.