A first of its kind global-level certification for vegetarians, the Sattvik Food Certification Scheme is the brainchild of Bureau Veritas India with the Sattvik Council of India (SCI).
The world’s only vegetarian food safety regulatory development organisation, the Sattvik Council of India, is now set to launch a vegetarian certification scheme alongside Bureau Veritas India.
The latest addition to Veritas’s Food Safety and Quality assessment, it offers four types of certifications from a basic Sattvik Vegetarian, Sattvik Jain, Sattvik Vegan, all the way up to a tightly governed Sattvik Sattvam.
The first three categories address the non-use of ingredients specifically taboo to each category during preparation. However, the Sattvik Sattvam category mentions preparation according to principles of the Sattvik concept, as well as a prescribed layout for the kitchens.
What a ‘Halal’ or ‘Kosher’ certification is to Muslims and Jews, respectively, this scheme is for vegetarians. According to the SCI, the main objective of the scheme is to render a ‘vegetarian environment’ for the vegetarian/vegan consumers in India and global markets. By creating standard operating procedures from end-to-end, they can potentially guarantee a completely vegetarian environment.
The SCI has highlighted that this isn’t a move promoting vegetarianism, but rather a step to lessen worries for Indian vegetarians while they travel abroad. The certification is, according to them, a combination of food safety regulations and vegetarianism based on ‘sound scientific and hardcore Vedic principles’ to protect consumers. They claim the scheme will reduce the risk of food-borne diseases and create basic awareness around food hygiene. The domino effect of the same will result in lower costs and improved public health.
For the uninitiated, a Sattvic diet is a vegetarian diet based on Ayurvedic principles meant to boost the energy levels of the body and mind. According to Ayurveda, food can be classified into three categories: sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. Sattvic means ‘pure essence’ in Sanskrit, and Sattvic foods are low fat, high fibre and vegetarian, and believed to be balanced and calming. Then there’s rajasic, rich food that is over stimulating. Foods considered tamasic (responsible for decrease in energy levels) include meat, eggs, refined sugar, spicy foods, and fried foods.
“Sattvik is an umbrella term. For example, there are 200 variations such as food, hospitality, textiles, dairy, etc. We did not want a synonym. So we zeroed in on this umbrella term,” said Abhishek Biswas, founder of the Sattvik Council of India.
The scheme is also expected to generate increased market access while mitigating the business risks; likewise, it will encourage facilitation of international trade. The certificate will help in reduction of production costs through reduced wastage and recall.
Amit Ghosh, Senior VP, CIF South Asia Region of Bureau Veritas added, “This is an effort to formulate a concise set of requirements in the form of a management system standard to be used by organisations in the food value chain—covering all levels of food processors, manufacturers, restaurants, packaged food manufacturers, traders, dealers, etc.”
The company aims to certify approximately 1 million establishments, including kitchens, hotels, products and textiles by 2025.
Biswas also added, “Through the scheme we want to practice responsible food processing through reduced emissions and lower carbon footprint. Likewise, we also want to instil confidence in the quality of food among food suppliers as well as consumers.”
The SCI has spoken of an increase in the vegetarian and vegan leaning population since the onslaught of the pandemic. However, when factors like accessibility and privilege are taken into account, the diet might not be the most feasible in a country like India. In the case of those looking for a vegetarian meal made with pure intent and ingredients, this scheme is just the ticket.