European country adopts its first-ever legally binding definition of “vegan,” preventing manufacturers from using buzzworthy labeling on foods with trace animal ingredients.
The German government is moving to protect its vegan citizens thanks to a proposal that will create a clear and legally binding definition of “vegan” when it comes to food packaging. The definition, unanimously approved by consumer protection ministers, makes clear that vegan foods are to use absolutely no animal products during any stage of production, taking special consideration to mention processing aids, additives, carriers, and enzymes. This means that manufacturers must adhere to a strict set of guidelines that have, up until now, put animal-free eaters in danger of consuming honey, trace amounts of dairy, gelatin, insect-based coloring, and L-cysteine—a common dough conditioner made from duck feathers. “As a result [of the new definition], plant-based lifestyles will become easier,” Jan Felix Domke, a political assistant of the European Vegetarian Union, said. The news solidifies Germany as a veg-friendly mecca, where reports show vegetarian food options have risen by 633 percent in five years.