As part of the evolving food law and food standards in India, the FSSAI has recently published draft regulations aimed at limiting the presence of chromium in gelatine. Draft regulations (“Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) (Amendment) Regulations, 2015”) were published on August 7, 2015 and are now open for stakeholders’ comments, before they get published in the India Official Gazette and enter into force.
Chromium in Water and Foods
The concern about the levels of chromium in gelatine stems from the fact that the raw materials used in manufacturing of gelatine can be contaminated with this heavy metal. The trivalent (Cr (III)) is the essential nutrient naturally present in a variety of foods, while the hexavalent variant (Cr (VI) is a contaminant, generated during industrial processes and occurring in drinking water. The maximum limit for total chromium in drinking water in India is set at 0.05 mg/l, as defined by Indian standard IS 10500: 2012.
According to the current Food Safety and Standards (Contaminants, Toxins and Residues) Regulations from 2011, refined sugar is the only food item that has to be tested for chromium limits (20 ppb). The proposed limits for gelatine in the draft regulation is 10 ppb.
Use of Gelatine
In India, gelatine is used for the manufacturing of a variety of food items. Regulating and enforcing chromium limits in gelatine are aimed at boosting the efforts to ensure food safety and public health across the country.