AYURVEDA AAHAR: WHAT DOES THE PHRASE MEAN?
The Sanskrit words ‘ayus’ meaning life or longevity and ‘veda’ meaning knowledge are combined to form the term ‘Ayurveda’ which can be translated as knowledge of life and longevity.
Etymologically ‘Ahara’ refers to foods. In yoga philosophy, the term ‘Ahara’ is used to characterize the foundation or substrate of consciousness.
AYURVEDA AAHAR: LEGAL RECOGNITION
On 5 May,2022 the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Ayush brought into force the ‘Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahara) Regulations, 2022’. The regulations aim to acknowledge the ancient Indian Ayurvedic principles and the Aahara prepared in accordance with Indian historical literature.
The regulations are vital since they clearly outline the fundamentals of Ayurveda Aahar. "Food prepared in accordance with the recipes or ingredients or processes as per methods described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda" is how Regulation 2 Clause (b) defines “Ayurveda Aahar”. Additionally, Schedule A of these regulations lists 71 specific books that food establishments can use to prepare Ayurvedic food items.
Regulation 2 clause (b) further states that “products which have other botanical ingredients in accordance with the concept of Ayurveda Aahara” shall also be eligible to be recognised as “Ayurveda Aahar”.
WHAT IS NOT AYURVEDA AAHAR?
Regulation 2 clause (b) of Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahara) Regulations, 2022 categorically states that following item shall not be treated as Ayurveda Aahar:
1. Ayurvedic drugs or proprietary Ayurvedic medicines including medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances; AND
2. Herbs listed under Schedule E-1 of Drug and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 1945; AND
3. Metals based Ayurvedic drugs or medicines; AND
4. Bhasma or pishti; AND
5. Any other ingredients notified by the Authority from time to time.
FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS (AYURVEDA AAHARA) REGULATIONS, 2022 IN COMMERCIAL WORLD
1. For the ease of large-scale manufacturing and packaging, the Ayurveda Aahara Regulations, 2022 further legalize the adoption of all or any Ayurveda Aahara cooking and preparation methods that are listed or detailed in the Schedule A authoritative books. However, such adoptions must have as their primary goal, the production of Ayurveda Aahara that closely reflects the qualities and traits listed in the literature included in Schedule A of these regulations.
2. In addition to above, the regulations also apply to recipes and ingredients that aim at boosting the immune system, meeting particular physiological needs as mentioned in the Schedule A authoritative literature including foods listed for ingestion during or after defined diseases or disorders known as ‘Pathya’ in Ayurveda.
3. Unless otherwise indicated, any packaged food item used in everyday life for dietary purposes- such as pulses, rice, flour, vegetables including other foods specified by the Food Safety and Standards Regulations shall not be subject to these regulations.
4. Food products that have undergone minimal processing, such as cleaning, polishing, dehusking or grading are excluded from these regulations.