FSSAI has put out a notice containing the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) study on the tolerable upper limits (TULs) of the nutrients applicable for products under the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, on health supplements, nutraceuticals, foods for special dietary use and special medical purpose, functional and novel foods.

In a statement, the country’s apex food regulator said that with the growing concerns towards the unsupervised usage of health supplements and issues regarding tolerable upper limits of vitamins and minerals, it has approached ICMR for guidance, wherein a committee was constituted and made a report thereunder.

The report on the upper limit was for the guidance of the manufacturers, who can draw reference from this study. It comprised detailed information on the effects and the recommended limits for different age groups and genders.

Ashwin Bhadri, chief executive officer, Equinox Labs, said, “A lot of confusion and misleading information has been observed on the usage of health supplements/ nutraceutical front. Also, the issues had been growing with the exact TULs of vitamins/minerals missing from public domain.

“The guidance report on use of minerals and vitamins was much needed, as this would provide clarity and will make it more convenient to follow. I think the step taken by FSSAI to approach ICMR for guidelines will definitely help streamline the work efficiently, as the report on TULs implies to reduce the effects of the excessive intake of nutrients in future,” he added.

Bhadri stated that the report serves as the best guide to follow the TUL levels for a healthy body. For example, the TUL for iodine in adults is 0.9mg per day and that of sodium is considered to be 5g. Calcium, on the other hand, has different TULs for different genders and age groups. For adults aged between 31 and 50, 2,500mg is the ideal TUL for both men and women, and that for men and women over 50 is stated to be 2,000mg. Vitamin A and Vitamin D are supposed to have a TUL of 3mg and 0.1mg, respectively.”

Meanwhile, it also would help the industry to follow the safe path when it comes to use of nutrients for programmes like fortification. Bhadri stated that the report will serve as a major guideline for all the food businesses on the safe use of health supplements/ nutraceuticals.

“This will directly avoid all the ill-effects and the consequences that follow post the consumption of such supplements. The food industry will now be more cautious and aware of adding these nutrients. With the mentioning of the exact TULs of minerals and vitamins, this shall induce uniformity in the entire industry and give clarity on the same. Transparency shall prevail in the food industry in regards to the same and the food manufacturers will adhere to the rules,” he added.