FSSAI has said to the Delhi High Court that a declaration regarding food products being vegetarian or non-vegetarian is compulsory irrespective of the percentage of an ingredient used in it, and all packages of non-vegetarian food shall bear a symbol & colour code to indicate its nature. In response, filed a petition concerning the labelling of food products, the FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India) informed that it had issued orders to all the Commissioners of Food Safety in every State & Union Territory and Central Licensing Authorities to ensure compliance of the mandate & a notification was also published in 68 newspapers all over the country, in 26 languages, to inform the public at large. This write-up will discuss the FSSAI New Regulations on Veg or Non-Veg Food Products.
Some Important Highlights of FSSAI New Regulations
Following are some important highlights of FSSAI New Regulations:
- Essential labelling requirements, like details on allergens and the logo for veg or non-veg-based food products, are also applied to pre-packaged food products.
- The new vegetarian food logo consists of green filled circle in the green outlined squire to attract colour-blind persons.
- Nutritional details may also be provided as a barcode/GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number).
- An internal mechanism for controlling problems arising from the interpretation or implementation of standards.
- Any packaging of food ingredient not intended for human consumption need to bear a symbol to distinguish food-grade products from food products clearly.
FSSAI New Regulations on Labelling of Veg or Non-Veg food products
Here are some various characteristics that should be mentioned in the food product:
- Name of the Food items: This is the first guideline for labelling food items. As the name suggests, the food item’s name should be in a clear format on the packaged product in a clear font.
- Details of Nutritional: Its means to the calories from Fats, Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Carbohydrates, Sodium, Dietary, Protein, Sugars, Vitamins, Calcium, and Iron present in the food product.
- List of Ingredients: This refers to the elements used for making the final product. This is essential that the manufacturer mentions all ingredients fairly and does not cheat the end consumers.
- Declaration regarding Veg or Non–Veg: In India, eating non-veg food for many is against religious practices. Hence, as per the FSSAI guidelines on the labelling of food products, the manufacturer on the label should mention whether the food product is veg or non-veg can easily be known by looking at the small sign present on the corner of the brand.
- Name & address of the manufacturer: The name of the manufacturer & place of manufacturing are mentioned. The manufacturer has to give the address of his factory that including street address, city, state, and pin code. Without mentioning these, food products can be considered fake in the market.
- Declaration regarding Food Additives: These substances are added to food to preserve flavour or enhance its taste & appearance. It is essential to declare the additives added to the label and the package.
- Net Quantity of the Product: Net quantity is also the FSSAI guidelines on labelling food items. It refers to the weight of the food products. The weight of the food product and the packaging weight is usually combined and then mentioned in the net quantity.
- Date of Manufacture and Use by Date & Best Before: The date of manufacture is when the food product has been manufactured and used by the date & best before means by what date should the food product be manufactured and consumed. If the food product is consumed after the expiry date, it can harm people’s health.
- Code No. /Batch No. /Lot No.: These are the mark of recognition that the food product can be found in the manufacture and even recognized in the distribution. Therefore, the Code No. /Batch No. /Lot No. The manufacturer should mention it as per FSSAI guidelines on labelling of Food Products.
- Instructions for Use: As per FSSAI guidelines on labelling food products, the instructions for use should be essentially mentioned. The name suggests that it usually guides and instructs the consumers on utilising the food product.
Specific Provision for Labelling OF Veg or Non-Veg Food Products
Under Chapter 2, Section 4 of the FSSAI New Regulations, it is mentioned that packed food items should bear a symbol, mark and colour code so that consumers come to know about the ingredients of the food and its composition and then make an informed choice. It should be noted that it would not apply to packaged drinking water, carbonated water/ alcoholic drinks, or liquid milk & milk powders.
- All packages of “Non-Vegetarian” food shall bear a declaration to this effect made from a symbol & colour-filled circle having a diameter not less than the minimum size specified in the table provided in the regulation and inside a square with a brown outline having sides double the diameter of the circle;
- If any food product contains egg only as an ingredient, then this is the duty of the manufacturer, packer and seller to give the specific declaration with this brown colour symbol;
- For any vegetarian food product package declaration with a green colour-filled circle symbol, having a diameter not less than the minimum size described in the Table.
FSSAI New Regulations also mention ‘Area of Principal Display’ and minimum size of the diameter in ‘mm’. The area covered should be around 100cms to 2500cms, and the diameter should be around 3 mm to 8 mm, depending on the size of the food packet.
Penalty under FSSAI New Regulations
The penalty for such non-compliance could be as high as up to 3 Lakh rupees and a minimum fine of 1000/-; it becomes vital that the rules concerning the same must be strictly complied with.
This article is a humble attempt to make the companies or stakeholders aware of their grave mistakes, which bring unnecessary & costly penalties. It is valid for general information, which should only be used in conjunction with professional advice.
Read our Article:FSSAI Food License: Everything You Need to Know