FSSAI issues final rule for vegan food

INDIA – The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has published the final rule for the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022, thereby specifying what constitutes vegan food, what kind of labelling/packaging will be required for it and the compliances for Food Business Operators.

Last year in September, FSSAI drew up the draft regulations and publicized them to seek public opinion.

According to the new regulations, “vegan food” is a food or food ingredient, including additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers, or processing aids that are not products of animal origin and in which, at no stage of production and processing, ingredients or processing aids that are of animal origin has been used.

The regulations forbid any person from manufacturing, packing, selling, offering for sale, marketing, or otherwise distributing or importing any food as vegan food unless they comply with the requirements laid down under these regulations.

The food products to be called vegan, shall not have involved animal testing for any purpose including safety evaluation, unless provided by any Regulatory Authority, said FSSAI.

“We are also ensuring that every packaging material used for vegan foods shall comply with the provisions of the packaging regulations. The Food Business Operator (FBO) shall ensure that all stages of production, processing and distribution shall be designed to take the appropriate precautions in conformity with the Good Manufacturing Practices in such a way to avoid the unintended presence of non-vegan substances,” said an FSSAI official.

Following the endorsement of these regulations, every package of vegan foods shall carry a logo that is green in color to depict that the ingredient or product is of plant origin, with the letter ‘V’ to identify it as vegan.

In addition, the regulations seek to establish traceability in the vegan food supply chain. Food Business Operators will also be required to comply with any other requirements specified by the FSSAI, to maintain the vegan integrity of the foods or food ingredients or products thereof from time to time, the official said.

The new standards come as India’s plant-based industry continues its rapid growth. While India is not new to vegetarianism, veganism defers from the practice that under the diet, not just meat but even animal-origin products like milk are avoided.

News 18 reports that even though some western countries are touting veganism as a means to combat detrimental environmental effects through lifestyle changes, expert opinion is divided.

FSSAI also recently launched standards and a special logo for “Ayurveda Aahara” category, to enable easier identification and reinforce the quality in Ayurveda food products.

The regulator defines Ayurveda Aahar as food prepared in accordance with the recipes or ingredients and/or processes as per methods described in the authoritative books of Ayurveda.

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