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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has published a Guidance note to help consumers to distinguish between genuine cinnamon and cassia, a lower-cost spice.
Published on March 10, the Guidance notes that the FSSAI has received a number of complaints that cassia is being sold as cinnamon in some Indian markets, or used as an inexpensive alternative ingredient in food products. Although the spices are related, cinnamon is primarily grown in Sri Lanka and South India, while cassia is grown in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. In addition, the two spices differ significantly in their respective nutritional and health profiles.
Under the terms of the Guidance, the FSSAI has “operationalised” specific amendments regarding the maximum permissible limits of coumarin, which is common to both cinnamon and cassia. Under the amendments, the maximum permissible limit of coumarin in cinnamon is now set at 0.3 percent by weight. Since cassia normally has a coumarin content of between 0.8 and 10.63 percent by weight, the coumarin limit for cinnamon will help to limit the potential for misleading labelling by vendors.
The full text of the FSSAI’s Guidance note on cinnamon and cassia is available here.