Speciality breads are under the scanner of the Narendra Modi government. Be it garlic, multi-grain or whole wheat — the government is planning to regulate the industry of bread manufacturers.
At present, there are no set standards that companies can follow in manufacturing such speciality products. According to the draft regulation sent to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by the apex food regulation body, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), five categories of bread will be regulated.
The draft, accessed by News18.com, has been sent to the ministry for approval. It proposes to regulate the standards for whole wheat bread, brown bread, white bread, multigrain bread and 14 speciality breads, including garlic bread, egg bread, oatmeal bread, milk bread and cheese bread.
“The move came after leads came to us where consumers were spending much higher amounts of money on buying special breads without knowing the actual contents of the special ingredients. They are buying garlic bread but no one knows if it contains a drop of flavour of garlic, a piece of garlic or just nothing,” a senior government official privy to the development told News18.com, requesting anonymity. “The price of such products in some cases is double or triple the regular bread.”
The proposed regulation, if approved, will make it mandatory for the manufacturers to add the “specialty ingredient” — for instance garlic in garlic bread — to at least a minimum certain threshold as percentage of the total flour.
Sample this: An oatmeal bread must have at least 15% of oatmeal into it whereas a minimum of 2% of garlic will be mandatory in “garlic bread” or brown bread must have at least 50% of the whole grain flour.
Categories of bread under scanner
Whole wheat bread is the first category mentioned in the draft regulation where the specialty ingredient is whole wheat flour and it should be at least 75 percent of the flour whereas multigrain bread should have at least 20 percent of the grains other than wheat.
Under the category of speciality bread, the draft proposes that “the speciality ingredient must be present in case a prefix is added to the term ‘bread’ on the label.”
Under this category, milk bread, for instance, should contain at least 6 percent of the milk solids whereas honey bread should contain at least 5 percent of honey. Similarly, cheese breads should contain 10 percent of cheese and bread with wheat germ or oregano should contain a minimum of 2 percent of wheat germ or oregano.
Other breads such as fruit, triticale, rye, raisin and protein enriched breads should contain 20% of the special ingredient apart from the flour.
“Majority of these products sold by confectionery giants follow uniformity. However, the local products do not follow any standards. The audits and random checks will not be efficient without regulating the sector,” the official quoted above said.
“Once approved by the ministry, the draft will be open for public comments after which the notification can be issued. After the final notification, the industry will be given handholding followed by random sample checking.”