The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (“FSSAI”) through an Advisory dated 30th August 2019 has issued the Basic Guidelines for the use of Bamboo as a food contact material and along with it has also issued Guidelines for the manufacturing, handling and use of Bamboo Food Contact items.
Bamboo has been used as food and food contact material in the country for a long time and this has been a very friendly alternative to the usage of plastics. The scientific panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with Food and Scientific panel on Biological Hazards has examined the safety aspect of food contact materials manufactured from bamboo and has inferred that there is no reported contamination of food from the use of such utensils made from bamboo and their use as food contact materials if they are manufactured and maintained under hygienic conditions.
The following are the Guidelines for use of bamboo as food contact material:
- The bamboo product must have smooth surfaces and must be free dirt, dust, off-odour and coloration.
- Must be free from chemical contaminants and microbial pathogens.
- Must be durable and reusable.
- Shelf life and storage conditions of the product must be clearly mentioned.
- The labelling and advertising of such products must not mislead the consumers and must be consistent with the actual composition of the product.
The following are the Guidelines for the manufacturing, handling and use of Bamboo Food Contact items:
- The bamboo food contact materials must be manufactured and handled under hygienic conditions to prevent any sort of physical, chemical and microbial contamination.
- Must be prepared from the edible bamboo varieties and must not contain any other material in combination with the bamboo.
- The bamboo raw material must not pose any physical health hazard.
- Must be disinfected in salt, neem and potable boiling water.
- Must be dried properly under hygienic conditions to avoid any cross contamination and must be stored properly.
2. Handling and Cleaning:
- The bamboo products will be washed with soap which includes only normal dish washing bar or detergent. Clean potable water must be used for washing.
- A suitable brush must be used to clean the inner part of the bamboo to remove any sort of visible dirt.
- The bamboo utensils must not be soaked in water for long periods.
- Before drying, the materials must be soaked in hot water for five minutes.
- The materials must be dried and stored properly to avoid any contamination.