STC Number - 200

Ban on food grade wax

Maintained by: India
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2004 G/SPS/R/35, paras. 38-39
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 07 Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers; 08 Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons; 1521 Vegetable waxes (other than triglycerides), beeswax, other insect waxes and spermaceti, whether or not refined or coloured.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health; International Standards / Harmonization; Transparency
Status: Resolved
Date reported as resolved: 16/10/2013

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

The United States stated that on 13 August 2003, India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare published gazette notification GSR 656 amending the 1955 Prevention of Food Adulteration Act by prohibiting the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables coated with waxes, mineral oils and colours. This amendment threatened US horticultural exports to India and was not notified to the WTO. The new requirements exceeded those of the Codex and were adopted without scientific justification. Furthermore, the long shipping journey to India's ports meant that the export of US fruits and vegetables without waxing was not a viable alternative. Waxing was an essential treatment required to maintain shelf life. India was requested to notify this measure to the WTO so that Members could have the opportunity to comment on the regulations.
India replied that the measure in question had earlier been published in draft form in the Ministry of Health notification GSR 852 on 30 December 2002, inviting comments from all interested parties. The current measure was in force due to increasing incidents of the use of unsafe wax and adulteration of food with harmful chemicals. This was also a problem with domestic food traders and vendors. This issue of wax coating of fruits and vegetables was being examined by an expert group under the auspices of the Ministry of Health.