Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the food standard regulator, has banned blending of any kind of edible oil with mustard oil from June 8, 2021. Such a ban was earlier imposed from October 1 last year, only to be revoked in less than three months.
In a notification issued earlier this month, the FSSAI has inserted a Clause 11 under “sale of certain admixtures prohibited” that says “Any multi source edible vegetable oil containing Mustard Oil manufactured on or after June 8, 2021.” According to the FSSAI regulations, blending of two edible oils is permitted, provided the proportion by weight of any edible vegetable oil used in the blending process is not less than 20 per cent.
Sources in the edible oil industry claim blended oils were being “unscrupulously” passed on to unsuspecting consumers as mustard oil. The size of the mustard oil industry is around Rs 40,000 crore, at current prices.
According to the second advance estimates released by the agriculture ministry in February, India may witness a record production of mustard at 10.43 million tonnes in 2020-21 crop year (July-June), up by over 14 per cent from the previous year. However, the Central Organization for Oil Industry and Trade (COOIT) has estimated 8.95 million tonnes of mustard seed output, up by more than 19 per cent from last year. Official estimates suggested mustard production was 9.12 million tonne, while COOIT pegged it at 7.5 million tonnes during 2019-20.
Fortunately for farmers, the mustard prices have been robust this year while 77 per cent of the crop area has been harvested as of mid-March. The sowing was also at record 6.85 million hectare this year, against a five-year average of 5.9 million hectare. The average mandi price of mustard was Rs 5,121 per quintal in India’s top producing state Rajasthan during March, up by more than 10 per cent from its MSP of Rs 4,650.
The all-India average retail price of mustard oil, too, has increased by around 19 per cent to Rs 152 a litre in the past six months, consumer affairs ministry data revealed.