In a bid to ensure fair trade practices and to check adulteration, India’s food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for the first time specified the identity standards for basmati rice, which will come into effect from 1 August 2023.
As per the standards, basmati rice should possess natural fragrance characteristics and be free from artificial color, polishing agents, and artificial fragrances. The standards also specify the identity and quality parameters for basmati rice such as the average size of grains and their elongation ratio after cooking; maximum limits of moisture, amylose content, uric acid, defective/damaged grains, and incidental presence of other non-basmati rice.
The varieties include brown basmati rice, milled basmati rice, parboiled brown basmati rice, and milled parboiled basmati rice. The norms have been set via Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) First Amendment Regulations, 2023 notified in the Gazette of India, the regulator said in a press release.
The standards are aimed at establishing fair practices in the trade of Basmati rice and protecting consumer interest, both domestically and globally.
Basmati rice is a premium variety of rice cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of the Indian sub-continent and is universally known for its long grain size, fluffy texture, and unique inherent aroma and flavor.
Agro-climatic conditions of the specific geographical areas where basmati rice is grown; as well as the method of harvesting, processing, and aging of the rice contributes to the uniqueness of rice. Due to its unique quality attributes, basmati is a widely consumed variety of rice both domestically and globally and India accounts for two-thirds of its global supply.
Being a premium quality rice and fetching a price higher than the non-basmati varieties, basmati rice is prone to various types of adulteration for economic gains, which may include, among others, the undeclared blending of other non-basmati varieties of rice.
In order to ensure the supply of standardized genuine Basmati rice in domestic and export markets, FSSAI notified regulatory standards for Basmati rice that have been framed through extensive consultations with the concerned government departments and agencies and other stakeholders as well.