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Vegetarian mark and non-vegetarian mark

Effective region India
vegetarian food

non-vegetarian food
Effective since 2001
Product category Packaged food products
Legal status Mandatory
Mandatory since 2001

Packaged food products sold in India are required to be labelled with a mandatory mark in order to be distinguished between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The symbol is in effect following the Food safety and standards (packaging and labelling) act of 2006, and got a mandatory status after the framing of the respective regulations (Food safety and standards (packaging and labelling) regulation in 2011. According to the law, vegetarian food should be identified by a green symbol and non-vegetarian food with a brown symbol.

Only veg and non-veg

In the present scheme there are no distinguishing marks for egg and milk products, other than the broad vegetarian and non-vegetarian classifications. As per the present specifications, egg-products would be considered as non-vegetarian, while milk and milk-products are vegetarian and are marked with the green symbol. But there is a common misconception that the brown dot denotes egg-products and that meat-products are distinguished by a red dot. But there is in fact no such provision in the approved standard.

The mark

The law specifies the mark in quite enough detail. An excerpt (the opening sentence) of the specification of the mark in the law:

The symbol shall consist of a green colour filled circle, having a diameter not less than the minimum size specified in the table below, inside the square with green outline having size double the diameter of the circle, as indicated below ....

—Food safety and standards (packaging and labelling) regulations of India, 2011, Rule 4.

The mark is either a green dot or a brown one enclosed in a square of the same colour. The law specifies other requirements too, like wanting the mark to be placed near the brand logo, in an easily noticeable position etc.

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