BELGIUM, Brussels. Three associations are calling on the EU legislator to define the terms "vegan" and "vegetarian". A new global standard could serve as a blueprint.
The EU Commission should fulfil its duty as soon as possible and develop a definition of the terms "vegan" and "vegetarian". This is what the associations European Vegetarian Union (EVU), EuroCommerce and FoodDrinkEurope demanded in a joint statement last week - and submitted a wording proposal.
"In this context, the new ISO standard on veggie product labelling could also serve as orientation," says Ronja Berthold, Head of Public Affairs at EVU. In March, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) published ISO regulation 23662. It clarifies which ingredients or processing aids are permissible in appropriately declared products. Although the ISO has no legislative power, many industries voluntarily comply with the organisation's language rules. "It would not be the first time that an ISO definition is used as the basis for government legislation," says Valentin Jäger, Head of Quality Management at Taifun-Tofu.
Standard should facilitate B2B communication
The Veggie ISO standard is primarily intended to facilitate B2B communication - for example, between manufacturers of vegetarian finished products and their suppliers, or between retailers and their suppliers. "If a trader wants to buy a vegan rice vinegar in Japan, for example, it is now clear on the basis of the ISO that the vinegar must not have been clarified with gelatine. This common language regulation saves many detailed explanations in the product specification", Jäger emphasises.
The ISO regulation is also relevant for the consumer. "Burger King recently won a lawsuit in the USA - and was allowed to prepare meatless patties on the same grill as meat patties. This is not permitted according to ISO, as it does not comply with Good Manufacturing Practice," the manager continues.
The ISO standard also brings an innovation regarding animal testing in the development of veggie products. Animal testing is now only permitted if it is required by law, for example for novel food.
This text first appeared on www.lebensmittelzeitung.net.
Source: Gerrit-Milena Falker (LZ), lebensmittelzeitung.net / dfv Mediengruppe