Do you know that the symbol for non-veg food is a brown colored circle in a box and not red? This may be or maybe not is a Mandela effect.
Toothpaste is not a food, then why does it have a veg food green symbol on it?
Do you want to know which Indian law makes it a mandatory regulation?
Read this post to learn about the food laws related to veg and non-veg food symbols.
Table of contents
- Why do we have such laws?
- Regulation for veg and non-veg symbol
- What exactly is veg or non-veg?
- Right to Information
India is a country where the consumption of non-vegetarian food is against the religious practices of some people. There are some people who consume only vegetarian food as per their preference. To protect the interests and sentiments of a majority of the population, it has been mandated for all the food manufacturers to provide a symbol that determines whether the food is vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
For the definition of food refer to Section 3(j) of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.Which implies that food means an article which we consume and is helpful in physical and emotional development.
Accordingly, we can say that toothpaste is not food because it is not consumed and is only a part of hygiene but it has a vegetarian symbol on it. This is because earlier grounds of bones were used as an ingredient in the manufacture of toothpaste which is of course non-vegetarian. The same is not used now because part of the population consists of sects like Brahmins, Jains and others who do not wish to not have any non-vegetarian article to enter their mouth.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards, 2006 which consolidates various Acts & Orders that have hitherto handled food-related issues in various Ministries and Departments.
FSSAI in its Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011) has made it mandatory for all the food manufacturers to have symbols that represent whether the food is vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulation] in 2011
Section 92 and Section 23 of The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India proposes to make Food Safety and Standards Regulations so far they relate to Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011. It came into force on 5th August, 2011.
Regulation 2.2.2(4) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 talks about declaration regarding veg and non-veg. In spite of the passing of the Act in 2006, there were some food products that did not contain the symbol. Thus, Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011 were passed to give a mandatory status to the symbol. The below-given law is laid down in Regulation 2.2.2(4).
- 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 be of brown colour
- 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 colour code as stipulated below for this purpose to indicate that the product is Vegetarian Food. The symbol shall be of a green colour
- The symbol shall be prominently displayed
- on the package having a contrasting background on the principal display panel;
- just close in proximity to the name or brand name of the product;
- on the labels, containers, pamphlets, leaflets, advertisements in any media.
“Non-vegetarian Food” means an article of food that contains whole or part of any animal including birds, freshwater, or marine animals or eggs or products of any animal origin, but excluding milk or milk products, as an ingredient.
“Vegetarian Food” means any article of Food other than Non- Vegetarian Food.
A consumer has a right to information on the goods and services being sold to him. It means he should be informed about all the details of the goods and services. If a consumer consumes a product and suffers any damage due to lack of information then the consumer can file a case against the food manufacturer or the seller for the compensation of loss in the Consumer Redressal Forum.
But if the food safety inspector in the FSSAI finds any regulation is not followed or gets information that any seller or manufacturer does wrong under any regulation then FSSAI can take suo moto action.
The same can be done by a person who unknowingly consumes a non-vegetarian food product that does not have a symbol on it. He can file a complaint against the food manufacturer as well as the seller if the seller claimed that the food product was vegetarian.
This can be done for the imported goods as well because according to Regulation 2.2.2(11) of the Food Safety and Standards Act,2006; India is now the origin of the food.
The consumer can file a case under Section 405 of the Indian Penal Code which talks about criminal breach of trust.
The case for not having a symbol or wrongful representation of the symbol comes under Section 405 because firstly the consumer has shown trust over the seller and the manufacturer and secondly it is criminal in nature because the person may suffer any injury or has been caused mental damage by consumption of non-veg food.
- Section 3(j) of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 ↑
- Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulation, 2011https://www.fssai.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/Packaging_Labelling_Regulations.pdf ↑
- Regulation 1.2.1(7) of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 ↑
- Regulation1.2.1(11) Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 ↑
- Section 405 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 ↑