‘Thayir, not dahi’: FSSAI allows labelling curd in any Indian language amid row

The FSSAI revised its order after it received many representations over the exclusive usage of the word Dahi

thayir, curd
The controversy erupted when Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation - which sells dairy products in brand name Aavin - declined to use the Hindi term Dahi in its printed sachets, as directed by FSSAI and said it would only stick to the Tamil word 'thayir'

Amid the raging political controversy in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over using state-language names in printed labels of curd packets, food safety regulator FSSAI revised its order and has given the nod to use the term ‘curd’ accompanied with any other existing regional common name in brackets on the label.

For example, food business operators (FBOs) can use, apart from curd, dahi in Hindi or mosaru in Kannada, thayir in Tamil, or perugu in Telugu, said the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) in a statement.

The order has been revised after many representations were received recently about the omission of the term curd from the Standards of Fermented Milk Products and on the exclusive usage of the word dahi.

The FSSAI said, “As many representations were received recently on the omission of the term curd from the Standards of Fermented Milk Products, it has been decided that FBOs may use the term curd along with any other designation (prevalent regional common name) in brackets on the label.”

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In its directive dated March 10 issued to milk cooperatives and private dairies located in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the FSSAI had asked them to use the term Dahi with prevalent regional names in brackets.

They were told to use regional nomenclature used in different states for dahi, while labelling the product, like Dahi (curd), Dahi (mosaru), Dahi (thayir), Dahi (perugu).

The directive was issued to Karnataka Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (KMF), Bengaluru Rural and Ramanagara District Cooperative Milk Producers Societies Union Ltd, Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation and Hatsun Agro Products Ltd.

Not dahi, but thayir

The controversy erupted after the Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Producers Federation – which sells dairy products in brand name Aavin – declined to use the Hindi term Dahi in its printed sachets, as directed by FSSAI and said that it would only stick to the Tamil word ‘thayir’.

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On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin decried the move as an attempt to “impose Hindi”. Dairy development minister SM Nasar said the government had received a letter asking it to implement the directive before August.

“The unabashed insistences of #HindiImposition have come to the extent of directing us to label even a curd packet in Hindi, relegating Tamil and Kannada in our own states. Such brazen disregard to our mother tongues will make sure those responsible are banished from south forever,” Stalin said in a tweet.

Promoting regional languages

BJP state unit chief K Annamalai has said the notification was not in tandem with the Centre’s policy of promoting regional languages.

Meanwhile, former Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy took exception to the inclusion of the term Dahi on the curd packets of Nandini, a popular brand of KMF.

In a series of tweets, the JD(S) second-in-command called it Hindi imposition on Kannadigas. “Knowing that Kannadigas are opposed to Hindi imposition, it is wrong for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to order KMF to print Hindi Dahi on the packet of Nandini probiotic curd,” he said.

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He said Nandini is the “property of the Kannadigas, the identity of the Kannadigas and the lifeline of the Kannadigas”. “Despite knowing this, the ego of Hindi imposition has been displayed,” he added.

He alleged that Union home minister Amit Shah during his Mandya visit had said in a meeting that Nandini would be merged with Gujarat’s Amul.

There was no response from the Karnataka Milk Federation on the issue.

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