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Germany introduces a legal definition for vegan labelling

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Vegan food is Germany is about to change.

Food and Drink Europe reports that consumer protection ministers of the German federal state have unanimously voted in favour of a proposal for a legally binding definition of the terms of vegan and vegetarian in regards to food labelling. That means not having to double check if a product is vegan or not, unless you’re still as paranoid as I am. One hopes that businesses will boldly and clearly mark their waterproof labels with a sign that will be distinctive to vegans.

In partnership with the German Federation for Food and Science, and the German branch of the European Vegetarian Union (VEBU), the ruling means consumers can rest assure that food items labelled as vegetarian or vegan are being produced according to strict guidelines. Jan Felixe Domke, a political assistant at VEBU, told Food and Drink Europe that “as a result, plant-based lifestyles will become easier.”

Under the proposed definitions, things like juice containing gelatine will lose the vegetarian label, as will bread made from flour containing animal-based cysteine. Until now, there has been some mistrust with labelling, although a ‘V’ can be found on products for over 800 companies. With the recent Ipsos Mori poll finding as many as 900,000 vegans in Germany, it’s about time everyone shopped a little more confidently and avoided those dreaded hidden animal-product scares.

This move could help push the rest of Europe to get on board with defined vegan labelling, or it could become a trade barrier. For example, some producers may be required to reformulate their products if they want them sold in Germany. However, there is some fear that this could limit what’s available and counter the intention of making vegan items more accessible. Here’s hoping instead, it helps producers understand the vegan lifestyle a little better so they can accommodate it appropriately.

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