Mithun gains FSSAI recognition as ‘Food Animal’

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In a culinary revelation that promises to tantalize the taste buds of meat enthusiasts across India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has officially recognized Mithun, a semi-domesticated bovine animal, as a consumable food source.

This recognition paves the way for the promotion of Mithun’s consumption and commercial rearing in Northeast India. The meat presents a unique culinary experience that combines a distinctive flavor, a lean nutritional profile, and profound cultural significance.

Although it differs from conventional bovine meats like beef, it offers a compelling alternative for those looking to explore gastronomic adventures while supporting local, sustainable livestock practices. The National Research Centre on Mithun (NRCM), situated in Medziphema, Nagaland, plays a pivotal role in understanding and promoting the meat.

Girish Patil, the director of NRCM, describes Mithun meat as a revelation for meat lovers. It possesses a distinct flavor that sets it apart from traditional bovine meats. While it may be slightly tougher than beef due to the animals’ active lifestyle and natural habitat, this characteristic adds to its unique appeal.

Mithun meat

The meat stands out for its relatively low-fat content, making it an attractive choice for health-conscious consumers seeking lean protein sources. The reduced fat content not only contributes to a different mouthfeel compared to beef but also ensures that the meat is a healthier option. Additionally, it contains essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals commonly found in meat products, enhancing its nutritional value.

The FSSAI’s official recognition of Mithun as a food animal, effective from September 1, 2023, marks a significant milestone. To commemorate this achievement and celebrate the recognition, ICAR-NRC on Mithun has proposed the establishment of “Mithun Day” on September 1 every year.

Moreover, the meat has been given the name “Weeshi,” inspired by Naga terminology, and it has been included in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS) database. These developments signify the growing importance and recognition of Mithun in India’s culinary landscape.

The FSSAI’s recognition of the meat is a boon for the economy and it is expected to boost meat consumption, encouraging commercial rearing, and providing additional livelihood opportunities in the Northeast.

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