Standards of Ghee and Butter Oil

For systematic marketing of ghee, quality control is a pre-requisite. Apart from the self-imposed discipline of quality control, there are several quality control agencies and legislative measures for quality assurance in our country. The important quality control agencies concerning ghee are:
  •  Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954.
  •  Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
  •  Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (AGMARK)
  •  Weights and Measures Authorities

The first organization, PFA checks the quality and it is mandatory for the product being marketed to conform to PFA requirements. The next two agencies, BIS and AGMARK are voluntary and assure the consumers a product of pre-tested quality and purity. Weights and Measures Authority ensures that the product is packed in correct size and consumers are assured of what they are legitimately eligible.


i. PFA Standards of Ghee

According to Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, (1954), as amended upto 2003,ghee is the pure clarified fat derived solely from milk or from desi (cooking) butter or from cream to which no colouring matter or preservative has been added. Ghee shall not contain more than 0.5% moisture and the maximum permissible limit for Free Fatty Acids (FFA), as % oleic acid, is 3.0 irrespective of the state and union territory. The ‘Baudouin Test’ shall be negative. The details of other PFA requirements for different states and union territories are given in table
Standards of ghee under PFA rules
Standards of ghee under PFA rules

ii. PFA and BIS Standards of Butter oil

Requirements for butter oil as per BIS
Requirements for butter oil as per BIS
According to PFA Act (1954) as amended upto 2003, butter oil or anhydrous butter fat is a product exclusively obtained from butter or cream and resulting from the removal of practically the entire water and solids-not-fat contents. It may contain permitted anti-oxidants not exceeding 0.02% by weight except gallate, which shall  not exceed 0.01% by weight. It shall conform to standards of quality laid down for ghee (Table) except that butyro refractometer reading, which shall be 40.0 –44.0 at 40oC. In case of imported butter oil, Reichert value shall not be less than 24. The standards of butter oil as laid down by BIS are shown in table.


iii. AGMARK Standards of Ghee

‘Agmark’, derived from Agricultural Marketing, is the exclusive property of the Govt. of India and not a private trademark. The Agmark grading or certifications is for agricultural, livestock and horticultural commodities. These standards are voluntary and obtained by the producers/manufacturers or packers of ghee (or any other food commodity) to assure consumers that the product is of pre-tested quality and purity. The ‘Agmark’ standards of ghee are same throughout the country.Under Agmark, ghee is graded into three categories namely ‘Special’ (Agmark Red Label), ‘General’ (Green Label) and ‘Standard’. The definition of quality for‘Standard grade’ shall be same as laid down under PFA rules and amended from time to time. The Agmark standard for ghee are shown in table.
AGMARK standards of ghee
AGMARK standards of ghee

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