Agri Business

Coming soon: Regulations for packaged vegan food products

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on September 09, 2021

Marks the first time FSSAI is looking at setting standards; has sought views from stakeholders

Close on the heels of clarifying that plant-based beverages cannot be labelled as milk, the Food Safety and Standards of India (FSSAI) is next looking at bringing in a new regulation for packaged vegan food products.

The draft regulations proposed to bring in labelling and traceability norms among other provisions for the vegan food industry. The products will also need to display a logo on the label to distinguish them from non-vegan food products once the norms get implemented.

Vegan food is defined as foods or ingredients that do not use any ingredients, additives and processing aids of animal origin including milk, fish, poultry, meat, egg or honey-related products.

“It also should not contain materials of insect origin like silk, dyes, chitin/chitosan or ingredients that are clarified using animal sourced products,” the FSSAI stated.

Newer eating habits

This is the first time that the food safety authority is looking at setting standards for the vegan food industry and it has now sought views from stakeholders on the same. These regulations come at a time when the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards vegan diets and plant-based meat alternatives as consumers become more climate conscious.

The draft regulations state that vegan food products should not be involved in animal testing for evaluating the safety of the final product or ingredient. It should also not contain any animal derived GMO (genetically modified organism) or use animal derived gene for manufacturing these products.

“Traceability shall be established up to the manufacturer level and shall include any other requirements prescribed by the Food Authority to maintain the vegan integrity of the foods or food ingredients or products,” the draft Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations 2021, stated.

Specific compliance norms

Vegan food manufacturers will also need to adhere to specific compliance norms including submitting details related to their manufacturing facilities and equipments in their application. In addition, verification of the final product will need to be done through analytical tools to ascertain absence of animal origin material in the product to get endorsement to be allowed to use the vegan food logo.

“The Food Authority may specify guidelines for endorsement of vegan logo and annual market surveillance for such products,” the draft regulations stated.

In a bid to enable consumers to identify a vegan food product from non-vegan food product, a logo for vegan food products has been proposed in green colour with the leaf and the letter V, depicting that the product is of plant origin.

“The seller of vegan food either exclusively or as part of retail merchandise shall store and display such food in a manner distinguishable from non-vegan food,” the draft regulations added.

In recent times, many Indian vegan food and plant-based meat substitutes start-ups have come up. In addition international players such as Beyond Meat have forayed in the Indian market.

Globally, meat-substitutes market was pegged at about $20.7 billion in 2020, according to research firm Euromonitor. In India, it is still in the nascent stage but has the potential to become a multi-billion dollar opportunity in the coming years, as per experts.

Published on September 08, 2021

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