Advocacy win: FSSAI draft updated approval for Shea Butter

By Shubhi Mishra

UKIBC, on behalf of UK food and drink companies and jointly with other neutral stakeholders, liaised with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to elucidate the uncertainty on the usage of shea butter in food items and remove impediments to its use despite its global recognition. Consequently, FSSAI has come up with a draft notification in regard to Shea Butter that will support UK, and other international, food and drink businesses.

The Food Safety and Standards Regulations (Approval of non-specified food and food ingredients), 2017 states that there are several food products/ingredients which are not covered in any of the regulations made under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The novel products under this regulation are defined as “any new ingredient(s) which is not listed in Food Safety and Standards Regulation, or an ingredient which has been introduced for the first time in India.”

With this regulation FSSAI also mandated that stakeholders receive product approval from the relevant authorities before being able to bring the goods into the Indian commerce. A few products which are otherwise recognised in global markets but not recognised by FSSAI, like Shea Butter, fall under this category. With this background, the UKIBC along with neutral stakeholders engaged with FSSAI; the result of which has seen FSSAI include Shea Butter in the FSSAI draft standards.

FSSAI’s draft standard for Shea butter, as a forward-looking approach, is anticipated to benefit the UK businesses that use this globally approved ingredient. Shea butter is widely used as an ingredient by confectionery and chocolate manufacturers. It is anticipated to benefit several global companies, including those from the UK who otherwise were faced with this market entry barrier and were facing challenges in introducing certain range of products with the said ingredients. FSSAI is anticipated to implement the said regulation after taking comments from the related stakeholders.

As per FSS (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, Shea butter is now defined as the following:

Shea butter means the product obtained by pressing and extraction from shea kernels derived from Shea tree (Butyrospermum parkii). It shall be refined to make it fit for human consumption. The refined shea butter may be used as such or fractionated using dry fractionation or solvent fractionation technique to obtain stearin/olein fractions to be suitably used for different food applications.

Shea butter shall be free from admixture with other oils and fats and free from adulterants, any foreign matter or added colouring substance. It shall be clear on melting.

It shall conform to the following standards:

Parameters Shea butter (Unrefined) Shea butter (Refined)
Refractive Index at 44°C 1.4620 – 1.4650 1.4620 – 1.4650
Iodine Value 30 – 75 30 – 75
Saponification Value 160- 200 160- 200
Unsaponifiable matter Not more than 19% by wt. Not more than 10% by wt.
Free Fatty acids (as oleic acid) Not more than 8% Not more than 0.25%
Moisture Not more than 0.1 %
Flash point (Pensky-Marten closed method) Not less than 250°C


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