FSSAI cracks whip on misleading vegan labels
For instance, some products are sold as ‘vegan ghee,’ which is a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations-2022
New Delhi: Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has directed all Commissioners of Food Security and its Regional Directors to ensure that food business operators (FBOs) and e-commerce platforms don't mislead consumers in the sale of ghee and butter. Further, the officers concerned have been directed to file the action taken report by February 15.
The FSSAI has noticed that certain FBOs are using dairy terms to sell their non-dairy products like plant-based and vegan ghee and butter in the market as well on e-commerce platforms, official sources told Bizz Buzz. But these products are of non-animal origin. These are usually the blend or mixture of two or more edible oils and/or hydrogenated fats with natural identical flavors, the sources added. Furthermore, some such products are sold as 'vegan ghee.' This is a flagrant violation of the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022. The Regulations clearly say that ghee and butter cannot be claimed as vegan. Also, the vegan label can be used only after it has been cleared by the FSSAI.
FSS (Food Product Standards and Additives) Regulations-2011 says: "In respect of a product which is not milk, a milk product, or a composite milk product, no label, commercial document, publicity material or any point of sale presentation shall be used which it claims, implies or suggests that the product is milk, a milk product, or a composite milk product, or which refers to one or more of these products."
Further, the 2011 Regulations says, "No person shall either by himself or by servant or agent shall sell ghee which contains any added matter not exclusively derived from milk fat."
The Commissioners of Food Security and FSSAI Regional Directors have been directed to 'immediately check' the labels of such products manufactured and/or sold in their respective jurisdictions, including on online platforms. The FSSAI has also asked them to take action against the violators.