Veganism as a food choice is growing around the world. 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. While some western countries are touting veganism as a means to combat detrimental environmental effects through lifestyle changes, expert opinion is divided. But it is safe to say that veganism is also gaining traction in India, even if for select audiences.
The Centre on Wednesday published the final notification 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 too.
The notification dated June 10 was published on Wednesday and the government said it shall come into force immediately. News18 explains what categorises vegan food now, in India:
Not Products of ‘Animal Origin, Testing’
The notification issued by Food Standards Safety Association of India (FSSAI) defined “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.
“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,” the government said, adding, “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.”
Not Just Production, Packaging to be Keenly Watched Too
“We are also ensuring that every packaging material used for vegan foods shall comply with the provisions of the packaging regulations and 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 official.
Traceability Up to Manufacturer Level
Most important, there shall be traceability established up to the manufacturer level and the Food Business Operator shall comply with any other requirements specified by the Food Authority to maintain the vegan integrity of the foods or food ingredients or products thereof from time to time, the official said.
With IANS inputs