FSSAI Issues Stricter Regulations For ‘Vegan Food’

The rise in the trend of veganism has also stirred up a debate among people about what does or does not qualify as truly ‘vegan’. For the unversed, veganism is more of a philosophy than just a diet. As a vegan, one refrains from all kinds of animal-based food products, cosmetics and clothes. So, among foods, even your honey and milk are ruled out, as they are derived from honeybees and cows respectively. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is seeking to put a stricter regulatory framework for vegan foods in the country. The FSSAI issued the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations 2022 earlier this month. Here are some salient points from the latest FSSAI notification. 

As per the regulating authority, ‘vegan food’ refers to food or ingredient, including additives, flavourings, enzymes and carriers, or processing aids that are not products of animal origin. Additionally, at no stage of production or processing of the product should ingredients that are of animal origin have been used. For food products to qualify as ‘vegan’, it is to be ensured that the product has not been involved in animal testing for any purpose, including safety evaluation, unless provided by any regulatory authority.

It is also compulsory for manufacturers now to display the logo specified by FSSAI, for easier recognition. These logos will also facilitate easier traceability of the products up to the level of manufacturers. The sellers of vegan foods should display the vegan foods so that they are easily distinguishable from ‘non vegan’ foods.  

Vegan foods cannot be imported without a certificate issued by the recognised authorities of the exporting countries concerned. The FSSAI has also said that no one can 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 the regulations.

The Food Business Operator (FBO) should ensure that all stages of production, processing and distribution conform to the regulations and follow appropriate precautions in line with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to avoid the scope of mix-ups and errors.  

If a common production line is shared with non-vegan and vegan products, then thorough cleaning and comparable measures in conformity with the GMP should be carried out before the production of vegan products commences.