Explained: Vegan food as per Centre’s new notification

In its final notification for the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022, the FSSAI strictly bars Food Business Operators from labelling as ‘vegan’ any food or ingredient that have additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers derived from animals

Vegan food
Veganism is a diet and lifestyle choice which involves eating and using only plant-based products. Representative photo: iStock

In a final notification for the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022, the Centre has clearly defined veganism, the kind of labelling and packaging that would be required for a food item to comply with the definition, and compliances expected of Food Business Operators (FBOs).

What is veganism?

Veganism is a diet and lifestyle choice which involves eating and using only plant-based products and shunning food such as meat, dairy and eggs or products like leather, silk, and bone char – all derived by exploiting and inflicting cruelty upon animals.

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Here’s is how the Centre wants vegan food to be defined, packaged and marketed.

How FSSAI defines vegan food

The Food Standards Safety Association of India (FSSAI) defines ‘vegan food’ as the food or ingredients which have additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers or processing aids that have not been derived from animals. It also mandates that no additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers should be used at any stage of the production and processing of the food or food ingredient to be labelled and sold as vegan food.

Also read: FSSAI launches new logo for vegan food. How does it help…

The food authority bars anyone not complying with the definition of vegan food, from “manufacturing, packing, selling, offering for sale, marketing, distributing or importing” any food under the label of ‘vegan food’.

No animal testing

The government also mandates that food products labelled as vegan food should not have gone through animal testing for any purpose including safety evaluation, “unless provided by any Regulatory Authority.”

Keen eye on packaging

The FSSAI asks manufacturers to ensure that all packaging material used for vegan food comply with provisions of the packaging regulations. It also asks FBO to see that Good Manufacturing Practices are followed in all stages of production, processing and distribution of vegan food and ingredients, so as to avoid even unintended presence of non-vegetarian substances in vegan products.

Traceability to manufacturer level

The FSSAI has said that it will ensure traceability of a product up to the manufacturer level while instructing the FBOs to comply with requirements mandated by the food regulating authority to maintain the “vegan integrity” of food, food ingredients and products from time to time.

The vegan logo
Last year, the FSSAI introduced a dedicated logo for vegan products to help consumers easily identify vegan food while shopping.

The draft rules of the FSSAI had said that food products or ingredients that would be labelled as vegan, “will not have involved animal testing for evaluating the safety of the final product or ingredient and shall not contain any animal-derived GMOs or products prepared using an animal-derived gene for manufacturing the ingredients or products.”

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