Published On: December 15, 2021 at 15:33 IST
The Delhi High Court while hearing a Plea for labeling all items as vegetarian and non-vegetarian observed that everyone has a right to know what they are consuming and nothing should be offered by using deceit and camouflage.
The Plea was filed by a trust by the name of Ram Gaua Raksha Dal working towards the welfare of cows. It read that various products are actually non-vegetarian but are consumed by people professing vegetarianism due to the absence of disclosure.
The Petition not only emphasized strict enforcement of the existing rules and policies of labeling products but also a direction to all concerned Authorities to make it mandatory for all manufacturers of food, accessories, cosmetics, appliances to label all such products similarly.
The Court observed that using manufacturers using non-vegetarian products and labeling them as vegetarian offends the religious and cultural sentiments of the people professing strict vegetarianism and exposes themselves to a class action for violation of fundamental rights of the consuming public.
A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh directed the Centre and FSSAI to ensure that there is full disclosure of the contents that go into a food article not only with their codes but also states, whether they originate from plant or animal sources irrespective of how small the percentage used is. A direction was also given to FSSAI to verify the claims made by the business operators and file a compliance report before the next date on January 31.
The Court made an observation, “Even though several such like ingredients are used, merely the codes of the ingredients are disclosed, without actually disclosing on the packaging as to what is the source, that is, whether it is plant-based, or animal-based, or it is a chemically manufactured in a laboratory. Many food articles which have ingredients sourced from animals are passed off as vegetarian by affixing the green dot”