The Delhi high court has asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to take instructions on a plea by the National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India (NCDFI) alleging misbranding of plant based products as milk products.
Justice Rekha Palli posted the plea for a hearing after the FSSAI counsel sought time.
NCDFI, functioning as the apex body of the cooperative dairy industry said that its members, totaling 17,216,000, are engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of milk and milk products. They also include dairy product giant Amul India.
The petition said that various business entities have been misbranding and mislabelling their plant-based food or beverages extracted from almond, soy, and oats etc., as milk and other dairy terms such as paneer, curd, and yoghurt.
It said that the statutory scheme of the Food Safety Act, 2006, and its allied regulations prevent the use of the word ‘milk’ and other dairy terms for any plant-based food/extracts as these do not qualify as milk, milk product or composite milk product. The petitioner has made Hershey’s India and Epigamia as parties in the petition which would be now heard on May 24.