At a recent event organised by the Chamber of Indian Industry (CII), CEO Pawan Kumar Agarwal said, "We are in discussions with the Ministry of Ayush to explore various possibilities, and are looking at whether there can be standards for ayurvedic ahaar as a separate category in the food supplements regulatory framework.
"These standards could either be part of food supplements and nutraceutical regulations or we could look at having a separate set of regulations for ayurvedic ahaar."
At the time, Agarwal was vague about when the ministry and the regulatory body would make a decision on whether or not ayurvedic foods would be categorised separately.
"The decision of making it a separate category or keeping it in the existing food supplement regulations will be taken up at appropriate time," he said.
However, he also stated that a separate category for ayurvedic foods would aid in further developing the sector not just domestically but also globally, thereby raising overseas acceptance of ayurvedic products.
According to insider sources, the proposal was reportedly initiated by the Ministry of Ayush, possibly as a compliment to the FSSAI's existing regulatory standards recommended in 2018 for food, nutraceuticals, health supplements, foods for special dietary uses, foods for special medical purposes (FSMPs), functional foods, and novel foods.
Currently, a group is drafting guidelines on standards for botanical ingredients in food supplements and nutraceutical products, to be published under the FSSAI Nutraceuticals Regulation January 2018.
Considering India's historical ayurvedic tradition, the FSSAI has also said that if ayurvedic foods in India were to be categorised separately, it should oversee the category to ensure the manufacturers of such foods do not make therapeutic health claims.
NutraIngredients-Asia contacted the FSSAI for further comment, but did not receive a response.