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Plant-based food cos urge FSSAI to ease ‘milk’ label rules

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New Delhi: Plant Based Foods Industry Association (PBFIA) on Tuesday urged the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to ease restrictions on the use of the term “milk” on packaging. Speaking at a summit here, PBFIA Executive Director Sanjay Sethi requested the FSSAI to allow uniform nomenclature, despite the current “this is not dairy” disclaimer on cartons, a statement said.

Sethi called for FSSAI’s chief executive officer (CEO) to engage with the industry, exchange ideas and foster collaboration to support startups and product innovation against bigger players.

He proposed setting up “Plant Protein Clusters” across states to facilitate collaboration between institutes, startups and the government.

Addressing the event, FSSAI CEO G Kamala Vardhana Rao encouraged the industry to raise public awareness, recounting his surprise at learning the term “flexitarian” describes people who primarily consume plant-based proteins while moderately enjoying meat and dairy.

Citing an ICMR report, Rao noted the protein content in pulses is comparable to meat products. He commended the industry’s efforts and Sethi’s support for plant-based startups, appreciating the Cluster initiative.

Rajesh Agrawal, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, stressed technology for voluntary productions and investments in large-scale exports to add value-added plant products to the market.

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