India Food Authority Issues Guidance Note on Cinnamon and Cassia

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On March 10, 2017 FSSAI India issued a Guidance note on Cinnamon (Dalchini) and Cassia (Taj).

FSSAI has received a number of representations that cassia is being sold as cinnamon in the market. Since cassia is cheaper and looks similar it is substituted by traders for cinnamon.

Although related, cinnamon and cassia do not come from the same plant and are considered as separate foods. They vary in chemical composition and nutritional value, including Coumarin content

Authentic cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum syn. Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is native of Sri Lanka and South India. Scientifically there is only one cinnamon which is called Ceylon Cinnamon and comes from Cinnamomum zeylanicum.

Cassia (cinnamomum cassia syn C aromatica) is grown in China while Indonesian cassia comes from Sumatra and Java. Cassia is used as a spice and the volatile oil and oleoresin from cassia are also extensively used.

Standards for cinnamon and cassia are prescribed in the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product standard and Food additive) Regulations 2011.

 In order to make sure that lower price cassia is not sold as cinnamon in market or used as adulterant in cinnamon FSSAI has operationalized the amendment of standards for cinnamon with effect from 24 November 2016.

Cinnamon (whole and powder) – Coumarin Maximum limit should not be more than 0.3% by weight.

Since cassia contains between 0.8% and 10.63% of coumarin by weight, this is expected to help distinguish between Cinnamon and Cassia

Guidance Note from this year gives additional clarifications on how to differentiate the two:

Parameter

Cinnamon

Cassia

Taste

Sweet and delicate

Strong and peppery

Colour

Light brown or tan

Reddish brown to dark brown

Look

Curls from one side only and rolls like a newspaper. It looks filled like a cigar

Bark is thicker. Curls inwards from both sides towards the centre. Forms hollow tubes.

Feel

Smooth to touch

Rough and uneven surface

Coumarin content

Low

High

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Tags: India FSSAI