Mithun Meat gets FSSAI approval

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has officially recognized Mithun Meat, effective from September 1, 2023 by acting on proposal by the Nagaland-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)’s National Research Centre on Mithun (NMRC


Credit: National Research Centre of Mithun, Nagaland


In a significant development for the culinary world, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has officially recognized Mithun as a food animal, effective from September 1, 2023. This recognition marks a momentous occasion not only for the communities in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram but also for those who appreciate the diversity of India’s rich gastronomic landscape.

Mithun, a unique and semi-domesticated bovine species found exclusively in the northeastern states of India, has long been a cherished part of the local culture and ecosystem. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s National Research Centre on Mithun (NRCM), based in Nagaland, played a pivotal role in this recognition.

FSSAI Approved Mithun Meat


Bovine found in Northeast and known for its low-fat meat now classified as ‘food animal’

The decision by the FSSAI was preceded by meticulous scientific studies conducted by the NRCM. These studies revealed that Mithun meat contains a significantly low fat content, ranging from 2-3%, in stark contrast to beef and buffalo meat, which contain approximately 10-12% fat.

The fat percent of mithun milk ranged from 4.22 to 15.89% with a mean value of  8.90±0.63% which was not affected by the season. The omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids were 0.63  and 1.76 microgram /g .

This nutritional distinction positions ,Mithun meat as a healthy and lean source of protein, and omega fatty acids,appealing to health-conscious consumers.

Stamp of approval by FSSAI 

The journey to official recognition has been a lengthy one. The Nagaland cabinet granted its approval for Mithun to be recognized as a food animal in March 2017. Subsequently, NRCM submitted the proposal to FSSAI in October 2017, paving the way for this historic acknowledgment.

Official recognition of Mithun meat by FSSAI 

In celebration of this recognition, the ICAR-NRC on Mithun has proposed “Mithun Day” to be observed on September 1 every year. Furthermore, Mithun meat has been affectionately named “Weeshi.” This not only acknowledges Mithun’s significance as a food source but also highlights its cultural importance.

Benefits of Mithun meat

The official recognition of Mithun as a food animal by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) carries several significant impacts:
1.Diversification of Culinary Options: The inclusion of Mithun meat in the mainstream culinary scene introduces a unique and healthy protein source. It expands the range of food choices available to consumers, contributing to culinary diversity.

2.Socio-Economic Growth of the Region: This decision has the potential to stimulate economic growth in the northeastern states where Mithun is predominantly found. Increased demand for Mithun meat can generate income for local communities involved in its rearing and trade.

3.Low Protein Option: Mithun meat’s low fat content positions it as a healthier, lean source of protein. This offers health-conscious individuals an alternative to other protein sources with higher fat content.

4.Market for Specialty Mithun Products: The recognition opens doors for the creation of specialty products derived from Mithun meat. These could include processed meat products, sausages, and even export opportunities, potentially boosting local economies.

5.Promotion of Entrepreneurship Activities: Entrepreneurs in the region can explore various avenues related to Mithun, such as meat processing, marketing, and value-added products. This can lead to the emergence of new businesses and job opportunities.

6.Encouraging Scientific Mithun Farming: The decision to recognize Mithun encourages scientific farming practices. Farmers and breeders may now invest more in improving Mithun farming techniques, which could lead to increased productivity and better animal welfare.

7.Preservation of Livestock Heritage:Mithun’s inclusion in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) database further solidifies its status as an integral part of India’s diverse livestock heritage. It recognizes the cultural and ecological importance of Mithun as a unique bovine species.

Also Read : New FSSAI rules for alcoholic beverages

As we celebrate “Mithun Day” on September 1 each year, let us also savor the potential that this recognition brings – a culinary treasure that is not only delicious but also embodies the spirit of conservation and tradition. Mithun has officially arrived on India’s gastronomic stage, and its journey promises to be an exciting one, filled with flavors and discoveries yet to be explored.

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