To all those who swear by alcohol and enjoy a drink with their friends and family members every once in a while, here’s some good news!
From now on, every time you drink your favourite alcoholic beverage, you can be sure that its alcohol content would be within a safe and permissible limit, as per the standards set by Food Safety Standard & Authority of India (FSSAI).
FSSAI, which is an autonomous body under the Union health ministry, has taken the move to ensure that citizens consume only those products that have a prescribed percentage of alcoholic content.
The regulations cover all categories of hard drinks such as beer, wine, brandy, country liquor, gin, rum, whisky, vodka and wine (red and white).
FSSAI has also motioned for products to include an advisory message, ‘Be safe, do not drink and drive,’ in addition to the already existing labels which states, ‘Alcohol is injurious to health.’ This is being done to curb the countless number of road accidents and deaths that happen every year, owing to drunk driving.
The authorities are also keeping a tab on the heavy metal content in the drinks, which are naturally found in alcoholic beverages. All the regulations have been formulated under the Food Product Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standard) Regulations 2018.
“There was no regulation on alcohol in our country, and this move by FSSAI is a first. We have been working on this for past two years to develop standards for alcohol limit. The final standards have been sent to the Union health ministry for the health minister’s approval. FSSAI is now moving along the lines of Bureau of Indian Standards and International Organisation of Vine and Wine,” Pawan Agarwal, FSSAI CEO, told Mail Today.
Adhering to the FSSAI Act, 2006, the new standards deem any beverage with over 0.5 percent of alcohol as an alcoholic beverage, and this will be applicable on not just domestic products but even those that are imported.
“The regulations are being made with the aim to control the market of alcohol manufacturers and also to ensure that people consume a safe drink,” said another FSSAI official.