No vegetable fats other than cocoa butter are currently permitted under India’s Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
But the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) proposed amending the 2011 rules on July 26. It also proposed allowing low-calorie sweetener isomaltulose in chocolate.
The draft regulation will come into force 30 days after July 26, once it is published in FSSAI’s Official Gazette.
Palm oil and shea
The safety body plans to allow 5% of non–lauric vegetable fats such as palm oil, shea, mango kernel, barneo tallow and kokum gurgi in chocolate.
The vegetable fats must comply with criteria set out in the draft regulation on p6 part 5 (ii) – available here.
Global labeling standards
The draft regulation on vegetable fats would bring India in line with the European and CODEX standard.
In Europe, Directive 2000/36/EC allows vegetable fats up to 5% in chocolate.
The Codex Alimentarius or 'Food Code' of the FAO and the World Health Organization also permits a maximum of 5%.
Under US rules, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows alternative vegetable fats to cocoa butter but products cannot be called ‘chocolate’.
Such products are commonly labelled 'chocolate flavor’ or are referred to as 'compound coatings'.
India’s proposed rule change come after around 200 metric tons of imported chocolate from many international manufacturers was impounded at ports in 2013 for failing to meet labeling regulations.
Some vegetable fats are also well-known to improve the heat stability of chocolate, which can be problematic in India’s hot climate.
Isomaltulose: Low-calorie sweetner
The FSSAI ‘s amendments also propose allowing chocolate to contain isomaltulose at a maximum of 50% of the total sugars.
Isomaltulose is a low-caloric sweetener that is considered tooth friendly and has a low-glycemic index.
Ingredients supplier Beneo has been pushing mainstream chocolate makers for years to swap sucrose for isomaltulose, which it sells under trade name Palatinose.