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Hurray!! Vegan Foods to Have a Distinct Label

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has notified the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Food) Regulations, 2021. This means every vegan food item manufactured, packed, or imported in the country should have a distinct logo. The regulations define ‘vegan food’ for the first time in India and introduce safety standards and labelling rules for identifying vegan food products. A copy of the gazette notification can be downloaded here. The regulations also introduce a new logo for vegan foods. 

Mercy For Animals India Foundation first sent a representation to FSSAI in 2020 asking for a distinct label for all vegan products. On the basis of our discussions and consumer surveys FSSAI notified the first draft of the rules in 2021, which have now been finalised. 

The draft defined ‘vegan food’ as those foods or food ingredients that do not use any ingredients, additives, or processing aids of animal origin. It clearly established that milk or milk products, fish, poultry and meat, egg or egg products, and honey or honey products are not vegan. Nor are plant foods grown with crustacean-based enhancers, such as chitosan, or clarifying ingredients such as bone char and isinglass.

Additionally, the draft proposed general requirements, food compliance procedures, and labelling and display requirements for manufacturers and distributors. It specified that a food product or ingredient to be called ‘vegan’ must not have involved animal testing and must not contain animal-derived GMOs or use animal-derived genes in the manufacturing.

Green signifies that a product or ingredient is of plant origin, and the V identifies a product as vegan.

The label was also supported by Hon’ble Minister of Health Mansukh Mandaviya in his Twitter post.

Findings from a recent survey reveal extremely high support for the draft regulations. This survey of 565 respondents—conducted by Rashmit Arora, agriculture economist and co-founder of New Norm Foods through Cint, a digital survey company—targeted consumers aged 15–45. By percentage of respondents, key findings include the following:

  1. 97% – support the proposed rules
  2. 98% – believe the proposed rules will make identifying vegan products easier for consumers
  3. 96% – feel the proposed rules will make trying vegan products easier
  4. 93% – expressed greater willingness to try vegan products as a result of the labelling

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