Government of India on Monday issued draft Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2021, outlining vegan foods and stating compliance requirements.
The draft regulations also include labelling and packaging requirements, and a logo meant exclusively for vegan food products.
The notification defines “vegan foods” as “means those foods or food ingredients that have not made use of any ingredients, additives and processing aids of animal origin including milk and milk products, fish, poultry and meat, egg or egg products, honey or honey bee products, materials of insect origin like silk, dyes, chitin/chitosan etc or ingredients that are clarified using animal sourced products e.g., bone char used in sugar bleaching, isinglass in clarifying beer etc.”
It adds “no person shall manufacture, pack, sell, offer for sale, market or otherwise distribute or import any food as vegan food unless they comply with the requirements laid down under these regulations.”
No animal testing
FSSAI draft regulations also state that “food products or ingredients to be called VEGAN, shall not have involved animal testing for evaluating the safety of the final product/ingredient; and, shall not contain any animal derived GMOs or products prepared using animal derived gene for manufacturing the ingredients or products.”
It clarifies that traceability shall be established up to the manufacturer level and shall include any other requirements prescribed by the Food Authority to maintain the vegan integrity of the foods or food ingredients or products thereof from time to time.
Vegan food compliance
The notification clearly states the key compliance requirements. According to the details mentioned in the gazette notification, “the Food Business Operator shall submit an application with all necessary details related to plant/machinery/premises to the Authority. Inspection and verification of the premises shall be done by concerned Food Safety Officer or Designated Officer.”
Analytical tools (molecular/chemical/combination of both) available will be used to ascertain absence of animal origin for endorsement of the vegan logo in the license.
The Food Authority may specify guidelines for endorsement of vegan logo and annual market surveillance for such products. The concerned registration or licensing authority shall carry out surveillance of the registered establishment at least once in a year, it states.
Labelling and display requirements
According to the FSSAI draft regulations, all vegan foods shall comply with the packaging and labelling requirements specified under the Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020.
“The seller of vegan food either exclusively or as part of retail merchandise shall store and display such food in a manner distinguishable from non-vegan food,” it mentions.
The government has released a logo (below) exclusively for vegan food products.
“The ‘Green‘ colour and the leaf depicts that the ingredient/product is of plant origin. The letter ‘V‘ identifies the product to be as ‘Vegan‘.”
Objections or suggestions could be sent to FSSAI within a period of 60 days from the issue of the draft notification.