INDIA –  TheFood Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a food safety regulator in India, is seeking to impose new restrictions that will ensure yeast and moulds count in beer made across the country maintained within safe levels.

According to the restrictions by FSSAI, regular beer has to be entirely free of yeast while draught beer will be permitted a ceiling of 40 colony-forming units (CFU), reports ET Retail.

Pawan Agarwal, chief executive officer at FSSAI insisted that the restrictions seek to ensure microbreweries across the country maintain health and safety standards during the brewing and packaging process.

“Normal beer has to be yeastfree. In case of draught and microbrewery beer, there will be a yeast count ceiling of 40 CFU.

The fear is that yeast above the permissible limit may multiply and render the beer unsafe,” Pawan Agarwal maintained

However, this has raised concerns from microbreweries and craft brewers across the country who have said that the stipulated yeast level is significantly lower than that found typically in such brews.

With the regulation set to take effect from April 1 this year, companies are now seeking further clarifications on the restriction highlighting that it does not give clear directions on yeast as an integral ingredient and raw material in the beer brewing process.

Gaurav Sikka, managing director, Arbor Brewing Company and stakeholder at Craft Brewers Association of India (CBAI) noted that;

“The notification does not appear to be clearly worded and this may lead to confusion. We therefore intend to file a representation with FSSAI in this regard.”

Lalit Ahlawat, a microbrewery owner in the country, said that upon implementation of the parameters, microbreweries will be unable to meet the restrictions.

“Internationally, there is no restriction on yeast content and is considered good manufacturing practice. In the UK, it is compulsory for real ale to have a minimum count of 1 lakh (100,000) units of yeast,” said Lalit Ahlawat

With over 170 microbreweries, the craft beer industry in India has recorded remarkable growth which has subsequently contributed to the overall growth of the beer industry.

Microbreweries have said that the regulations will also implicate on the considerable amounts of revenues generated from craft beer sales highlighting that only commercial lagers like Budweiser will be able to meet the permissible count.

The development also comes at a time when most brewing companies seek to diversify and scale up craft beer production – which serves a considerable market among the young adults.

India has in the recent past recorded a rise in the number of craft beer outlets coupled with the launch of newer craft beer brand launches from outstanding labels such as Bira, White Rhino and Simba.