Through a letter uploaded on 22 January 2019, the FSSAI has pointed out that it has received reports that nutraceutical/ health supplement products that have gelatine shells or contain ingredients of animal origin are depicting the green dot on their packaging, therefore, declaring the same as vegetarian. The FSSAI states that this is in contravention of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011which mandates the applicability of vegetarian and non-vegetarian logo on the labels of pre-packed foods products, and the same shall be considered as misbranding or labeling defect.
The FSSAI further states that all food products that fall under the category of Nutraceuticals/ Health Supplements shall have to comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceutical, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations 2016 as well as the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 2011 failing which will attract the penal provisions under the FSS Act, 2006.
The FSSAI has asked all Commissioners of Food Safety of all states and UTs and FSSAI Food Officers to initiate a strong enforcement drive to keep a check on the sale of such products in their areas of jurisdiction which are in contravention of the packaging regulations mentioned above. The FSSAI has also instructed the officials to initiate appropriate action against the defaulting Food Business Operators as per the provisions laid down in the FSS Act 2006, Rules and Regulations 2011 made thereunder.
In the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 under the category Labelling of Pre-packaged Foods (2.2.2) contains the mandated labeling for vegetarian and non-vegetarian pre-packaged foods.
Declaration regarding Veg or Non-veg
- Every package of “Non-Vegetarian” food shall bear a declaration to this effect made by a symbol and colour code as stipulated below to indicate that the product is Non-Vegetarian Food. The symbol shall consist of a brown color-filled circle having a diameter of not less than the minimum size specified in the regulations.
- Where any article of food contains egg only as Non-Vegetarian ingredient, the manufacturer, or packer or seller may give a declaration to this effect in addition to the said symbol.
Every package of Vegetarian Food shall bear a declaration to this effect by a symbol and color as stipulated below for this purpose to indicate that the product is Vegetarian Food. The symbol shall consist of a green color filled circle, having a diameter not less than the minimum size specified in the regulations