India outlines safety norms for vegan foods

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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

For the first time in India, the government has issued a draft Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations of 2021, which outlines vegan foods and mentions the compliance requirements.

The draft regulations formulated by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) encompasses everything from labelling to the prescribed packaging requirements. A logo has been also prescribed specifically to identify vegan food packets and proper licensing for vegan food manufacturers.

The draft regulations define “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 like bone char used in sugar bleaching, isinglass in clarifying beer, etc.”

It also details that 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.

Further FSSAI has also issued strict regulations with a ‘No animal testing’ clause.

In other words, food products or ingredients to be called vegan, will not have animal testing for evaluating the safety of the final product/ingredient; and, will not contain any animal derived GMOs or products prepared using an animal-derived gene for manufacturing the ingredients or products.

The draft regulations also explain that traceability shall be monitored till the manufacturer’s level and it will encompass all requirements necessitated by the Food Authority to uphold the vegan integrity of foods or food ingredients and products at any time.

The draft also clearly details vegan food compliance requirements, which includes that food business operators will have to submit an application with all necessary details related to plant/machinery/premises to the FSSAI. And inspection and verification of the premises will be done by a concerned Food Safety Officer or Designated Officer. In addition to this, analytical tools (molecular/chemical/combination of both) will also be used to make sure that there is an absence of animal origin for endorsement of the vegan logo in the license.

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