The green and brown dot

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The green and brown dot - Process, Procedure, Document Required, Fees, Eligibility, Duration

In India, packaged food items must bear a compulsory symbol indicating whether they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. According to the law, vegetarian foods must be labeled with a Green symbol, whereas non-vegetarian foods must be labeled with a Brown symbol. Green and brown dots are required to be labeled on food products in India mandatorily to inform consumers if the products they are purchasing are vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

To distinguish between vegetarian and non-vegetarian alternatives, packaged food commodities in India must bear the mandatory symbol of a green or brown dot. The green and brown dots are used on food products to indicate whether they are vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

The symbol has been in use since 2006 when the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Act was passed, and it became mandatory in 2011 when the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulation was enacted.

“Veg” and “Non-Veg” food

Non-vegetarian food is defined as any food that comprises whole or parts of any animal, including birds, freshwater, or marine animals, or eggs or products of any animal origin, but not milk or milk products. Vegetarian food items are those that are not included in the definition of non-vegetarian food.

Identifying a product as “Veg" or "Non-Veg”

All food makers are required to state whether their product is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The identifying mark "Veg" or "Non-Veg" for the food category must appear on a food product label. The consumer will be able to identify if a packaged item is vegetarian or non-vegetarian by looking for a brown circle in a square or a green circle in a square on the package. A brown circle denotes that the food item contains non-vegetarian ingredients, whereas a green circle indicates that the food item is vegetarian. The “veg” or “non-veg” logos are denoted by the green and brown circles in a square, respectively.

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The green and brown dot Frequently Asked Questions

For egg and milk products, there are no differentiating signs. Egg products are considered non-vegetarian and are identified by the brown symbol. Milk and milk products are considered vegetarian and are identified by the green symbol. It is a frequent misperception that the brown dot represents egg products and the red dot denotes meat items. However, no such provision exists in the accepted standard.
Inside the square with a green outline twice the diameter of the circle, the green sign shall consist of a green-color filled circle with a diameter not less than the minimum size given. Inside the square with a brown outline twice the diameter of the circle, a brown color-filled circle with a diameter not less than the minimum size given shall be used as the brown sign. So, the mark is a green dot or a brown dot encircled in a square of the same color. The rule also requires that the mark be positioned near the brand logo, in a prominent location, to let consumers immediately spot it.
A consumer has the right to get information whether the goods they are purchasing are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The consumer should be fully informed about the “veg” or “non-veg” aspect of the product. If a consumer consumes a product and suffers harm as a result of a lack of information, the consumer has the right to file a lawsuit against the food manufacturer or seller. Failure to follow food labeling standards by the seller can result in a fine if a non-vegetarian item is wrongly labeled as vegetarian. The country's food regulator is the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. It is responsible for enforcing the Act and addressing the grievances of the consumers on misuse of a green and brown dot.

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