FSSAI approves Yak as a ‘food animal’

The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has approved the Himalayan Yak as a ‘food animal’.

The move is expected to help check decline in the population of the high-altitude bovine animal by making it a part of the conventional milk and meat industry.

Food Animals are those that are raised and used for food production or consumption by humans.

The NRC-Yak had in 2021 submitted a proposal to the FSSAI, for considering the yak as a food animal. However, The FSSAI responded with an official approval recently after a recommendation from the department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, NRC-Yak Director Dr Mihir Sarkar informed.

The animal play multi-dimensional socio-cultural-economic role for the pastoral nomads who rear yaks mainly for earning their nutritional and livelihood security due to virtual inexistence of other agricultural activity in the high reaches of Himalayan region.

Traditionally, yaks are reared under transhumance system which is primitive, unorganized and full of hardship.

Yak milk is highly nutritious, rich in fat, contain essential minerals and have medicinal value.

Yak farmers produce various traditional meat products. These products are confined to local community level, produced and sold locally, the director said, adding that Yak meat is known to be very lean and it is better than beef.