Cosmetic makers can’t be mandated to put veg, non-veg labels, HC told
Labelling cosmetics as vegetarian and non-vegetarian cannot be made mandatory for manufacturers and they may do so voluntarily or on their own discretion, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has told Delhi high court.
In an affidavit filed before a bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, the CDSCO said that the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has not “agreed for mandating green (for vegetarian) or red (for non-vegetarian) dot on every packet of cosmetic as it may complicate the regulation and add regulatory burden on the stakeholders”.
The board, however, opined that labelling items such as oaps, shampoos, toothpastes and other cosmetics and toiletries can be made voluntary and left on the manufacturer to decide, the drug regulatory body said.
Subsequently, an advisory stating that “manufacturers of cosmetics may indicate red/brown or green dot on packages of soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and other cosmetics and toiletries on voluntary basis for its vegetarian or non-vegetarian origin respectively” was issued on September 10 last year, it added.
The CDSCO’s affidavit was in response to a plea by Ram Gau Raksha Dal, a non-governmental trust, which sought labelling the products, including food items and cosmetics” as vegetarian or non-vegetarian, not only on the basis of its ingredients but also on the substance used in the manufacturing process.
The petition, filed through advocate Rajat Aneja, said that it is the fundamental right of any citizen to know whether or not the food they consume, cosmetics and perfumes they use, clothes/garments they wear, contain, or are manufactured by using, components or parts derived from the body of an animal.
Taking note of the plea, the high court on December 9 had made it mandatory for all food business operators to make a “full and complete disclosure” of all the ingredients that go into the making of any food item. The court ruled that “every person has a right to know as to what he/she is consuming and nothing can be offered to the person on a platter by resort to deceit, or camouflage”.
The court also said that the ingredients used in the manufacturing process should not only be written in code, but also by source of origin -- plant or animal, made naturally or manufactured in a laboratory. It also threatened action against food operators who fail to comply with the order.
The court, however, did not mention anything about cosmetic products.
In its affidavit, CDSCO said that at a meeting of the DTAB on April 13 last year, the board emphasised that there is no clarity and system to certify vegetarian and non-vegetarian in cosmetic products across the country.
The matter is slated for hearing on January 31.