Thursday, July 14, 2005

Vegan Easier Than Vegetarian says FSA

vegan society symbol, vegan trademark for vegan labelling

Natural Products Magazine: "FSA guidance tackles mistrust on use of vegan and vegetarian - July 13, 2005
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued new draft guidance on the use of the terms vegetarian and vegan in food labelling.

The move is designed to address the problem of growing consumer distrust of the way the terms are used by food manufacturers. The FSA believes that the main reason for this distrust is the lack of a universally accepted definition of what constitutes a food that is suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet.

The FSA says that it was relatively easy to reach agreement from stakeholders (manufacturers, vegetarian and vegan organisations, and religious groups) on use of the term vegan broadly, the exclusion of any foods made from, or with, animals or animal products. The term vegetarian was more difficult to define. The proposed criteria is to exclude products derived from the slaughter of animals or made with the use of such products, but to permit foods that are produced by, from, or with the use of live animals for example eggs or honey. "

Some people vegetarian for religious reasons don't consider eggs to be vegetarian.

A representative from The Young Indian Vegetarian Nitin Mehta conceded it may be easier and simpler for Indian vegetarians to look for products labelled as vegan.

Food Standards Agency * The Vegan Society * The Vegetarian Society * Independent help for manufacturers on Vegetarian and Vegan Labelling and Symbols for Packaging * Press Release - FDA on Vegetarian and Vegan Diets - Full Story Food Navigator - Pub Trade response


Anonymous said...

The term vegetarian was more difficult to define.

Tony Bishop Weston Author of Vegan (ISBN 0600611906) says "Vegetarianism's bottom line depends on the theory of avoiding the responsibility of having to directly kill something in order to obtain the product - it's not really about cruelty"

Therefore despite the fact that millions of calves are killed to allow cows to provide milk, or millions of useless male chicks are crushed and gassed to allow egg-laying hens - in theory you don't have to kill them.

These milk and egg by products have no commercial value so ironically if you didn't kill them they would probably just be allowed to slowly starve to death.

Far more vegetarians (up to 40%) are vegetarian for health reasons and no wonder; there is lots of research to prove how healthy the vegetarian diet is.

Tony says "Vegans are more likely to be vegan for ethical reasons although if properly planned a varied Vegan diet could be one of the healthiest meal plans on the planet."

"Vegans do particularly well at avoiding heart disease and strokes." says Yvonne Bishop-Weston a London Nutritionist.

One of the problems of a definition for vegetarianism is that many people who are vegetarian for religious reasons don't condone the use of eggs whilst the UK Vegetarian Society's standards accept eggs if they are Free Range.

Representative from The Young Indian Vegetarians Nitin Mehta conceded it might be easier and simpler for Indian vegetarians to look for products labelled as vegan.

The FSA labelling guidance is only really a reflection of public opinion. The UK Vegetarian Society is meanwhile trying to push an early day motion through the UK Parliament to get a legal definition of vegetarian.

Manufacturers needing expert advice and assistance on vegetarian and vegan symbols and labelling should contact PEA PR for guidance.


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