The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (“FSSAI”) on June 10, 2022 has published the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022 (“Regulations”).
Seeking to put in place a strict regulatory framework for vegan foods in the country and to curb sale of fake vegan foods, the draft of the Regulations was published on September 6, 2021 and after considering the objections and suggestions received from the public in respect of the said draft, FSSAI has made these Regulations effective immediately. This is a major regulatory step that is bound to improve awareness about vegan foods for customers, taking veganism further into the mainstream.
Please below a summary of the provisions:
(a) Introduction of a definition for ‘Vegan Food’
The Regulations define “vegan food” as the 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, including additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers, or processing aids that are of animal origin has been used.
(b) General Requirements
(i) The food products to be called vegan, must not have involved animal testing for any purpose including safety evaluation, unless provided by any regulatory authority.
(ii) The Food Business Operator (FBO) must 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.
(iii) If the same production line is shared with non-vegan products or ingredients, thorough cleaning or comparable measures in conformity with Good Manufacturing Practices shall be carried out before production of vegan products commences and the same shall extend to all associated machinery, equipment, utensils and surfaces.
(iv) Traceability should be established up to the manufacturer level and the FBO must 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.
(v) The FBO has to submit an application to the concerned licensing authority with all necessary details in a format as may be specified by FSSAI.
(vi) No vegan food products will be imported except with a certificate issued by the recognised authorities of the exporting countries in the format as specified by the FSSAI.
(c) Requirements for Packaging, Labelling and Display
(i) The packaging and labelling of vegan foods should comply with the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulations, 2018 and Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020 (except clause (b) of sub regulation (4) of regulation 5), respectively.
(ii) The seller of vegan food either exclusively or as part of retail merchandise must store and display such food in a manner distinguishable from non-vegan food.
(iii) Every package of vegan foods should carry the logo as specified below. FSSAI may specify guidelines for approval of the vegan logo.
This update has been contributed by Namitha Mathews (Partner) and Anukriti Goswami (Associate).
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