Government sets quality standards for four traditional Nepali snacks and vegetable oilBeaten rice, pustakari, assorted salty snacks, gudpak, and vegetable fats and oil will now onwards have their production qualities and sales specifications.
For the first time, the government has set the quality of traditional Nepali snacks.
The colour and size of beaten rice, or chiura, need to be uniform. It should not contain any dirt, mark, smell, fungus or insects. Similarly, beaten rice should be free of food colour and it should taste natural with good smell, says the government.
Along with beaten rice, standards of pustakari, a milk-based sweet, dalmoth, assorted salty snacks with fried lentils and flour-based condiments, and gudpak, milk-based dessert, have also had their specifications set from how many times oil can be used to fry dalmoth to how much vegetable oil to be used.
The Cabinet had last week approved the ‘Orders to Quality and Standard of Foods’, which will be applicable on five different food items, including vegetable oil and ghee. The approved new quality will come into implementation once published in the Nepal Gazette, said the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control.
The department on May 10 had proposed for the quality determination on four food items—beaten rice, pustakari, dalmoth and gudpak and set a maximum limit of total polar material on vegetable ghee and oil.
As oil is used repeatedly to fry food, polar material will let you know how many times the oil has been used to fry food. As per the new requirement, it should not be more than 25 percent.
Mohan Krishna Maharjan, spokesperson at the department said that this is the first time the determination of quality on Nepali traditional food has been done to maintain quality and safety. It will also become easy to conduct the market inspection as well, he said.
The new standard has been set by the Food Standardization Committee under the Food Act, 1967. The committee is chaired by the secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and concerned stakeholders from government bodies, private sector and consumer rights activists.
“The cabinet approved the new standard after the new quality standards sent to the World Trade Organisation for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures notification through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development was approved,” Maharjan told the Post. It takes at least two months to get the World Trade Organisation's response, he added.
The proposed draft has defined that beaten rice should be produced through clean paddy by soaking it in hot or cold water and processed traditionally or through the mill.
Likewise, dalmoth, a snack that includes all varieties of snacks like bhujia, mixed dalmoth among others needs to be hygienic, proper in colour, taste and smell natural and should be crispy while eating.
Dalmoth and dal fry needs to be hygienic and dry and should be sealed using food-grade packaging.
The fat content on potato snacks has been set at 55 percent while the fat content for other snacks has been set at 45 percent. These figures are based on their dry weight.
In terms of gudpak, it should be natural caramel in colour, taste natural, soft and smell good. Gudpak should not use any vegetable ghee or oil and should be free of bad smell, taste and other external material, according to the new quality standards.
The milk product once used for making the gudpak should not be reused for the production of other sweets. The packaged food items should not release any kind of unnatural taste, smell and colour and other harmful material.
Similarly, pustakari should be natural caramel in colour, taste natural and smell good, according to new quality determination. It should not use any type of vegetable oil or ghee and should be free of unnatural smell, taste and external substances.
Similarly, the maximum limit of total polar material has also been set on vegetable oil and ghee. According to the new quality standards, total polar material should not be more than 25 percent.
These food items need to be labelled with Food Regulation 1970.
After the new standard is implemented, anyone violating it will be charged as per the Food Act from being fined Rs50,000 and face up to five years of imprisonment, said Maharjan.
Similarly, the committee sent a new set of proposed quality standards for fruit juices and beverages to the World Trade Organization for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures notification more than a month ago. Maharjan said that the committee prepared the new quality standard for fruit juice to bring them in line with international standards.