According to the FSSAI, labelling plant-based products as butter and ghee is against the law. Butter and ghee cannot be sold as plant-based substitutes for dairy products. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) sent a letter to all of its regional directors and commissioners of food safety on January 23, 2023. The letter formally informed them about some FBOs selling non-dairy goods by using dairy terms. The use of terms like “vegan butter” and “vegan ghee” in breach of FSSAI rules. The concerned officials are expected to receive the compliance report by February 15, 2023.
Plant-Based Ghee/Butter Are Mislabeled
The products made from non-animal sources typically contain a combination of two or more edible oils, hydrogenated fats, and natural flavours. The concern here is their misrepresentation as “vegan butter/ghee” or “plant-based ghee/butter.” Use of the vegan-food label and vegan logo is only permitted with the food authority’s prior approval.
The sale of plant-based products under terms used for dairy products happens openly in the market as well as at e-commerce platforms. Selling vegan products as ghee is completely misleading given that they are made of non-dairy elements.
The FSSAI’s action comes two days after Dr. RS Sodhi, President of the Indian Dairy Association, claimed that marketing plant-based products as butter and ghee is the highest form of consumer fraud.
Also read: Making Veganism Delicious! 7 Plant-Based Food Brands That Are Trending In 2023
FSSAI Is All Set To Take Action
According to Dr Sodhi, no individual or business will be allowed to refer to plant-based products using names like ghee, milk, yoghurt, or cheese. This action would protect the interests of dairy farmers while also making the right product available to consumers.
Unexpectedly, the FSSAI took firm action and issued the aforementioned letter on January 23 within two days. In this letter, the specified provisions that define dairy products are clarified using the safety regulations. Additionally, it states that butter and ghee can only be applied to products made entirely of fats derived from animal milk. The terms “ghee” and “butter” cannot be used to describe products made of plant-based fats.
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