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A current market check by the consumer organization foodwatch finds that every third apple juice contains 'hidden animals'. The VEBU (Vegetarian Association of Germany) is committed to clear food labeling.
“Foodwatch's investigation shows that every third apple juice is made with the help of animal gelatin. However, consumers cannot recognize this from the packaging. These results make it clear, for example, that we need clearer food labeling in order to enable consumers to make self-determined consumption decisions, ”says Till Strecker, Head of VEBU Policy. At the moment, consumers do not have to be informed about processing aids, such as gelatin for clarifying apple juice.
With added flavors and other ingredients, it is not necessary to state whether they are of animal or vegetable origin. From the VEBU's point of view, there is plenty of room here for improved labeling rules that lead to more freedom of choice on the part of customers. "A very simple way to inform interested consumers about whether and to what extent a food was produced with the help of animal substances is the 'vegan' or 'vegetarian' claim. So far, however, there is no legally binding definition of exactly which criteria vegan and vegetarian foods have to meet, ”explains Strecker.
Legally binding definition is required
“The VEBU has worked out a suitable proposal for a legally binding definition together with the federal states and the food industry. Now it is Brussels' turn to create the urgently needed legal clarity, ”said Strecker. The consumer protection ministers of the federal states recently decided to use the definition developed by VEBU, among other things, as a benchmark for the work of the food control authorities. The European Food Information Regulation obliges the EU Commission to formulate corresponding criteria that would then be legally binding for the entire EU. Despite the explicit support of the proposed definition by all parties in the German Bundestag and the federal government, the commission has not yet taken action.
V-Label offers orientation
The V-Label offers security when purchasing products. The V-Label is an internationally protected seal of quality for labeling vegetarian and vegan foods. It is used as an orientation aid on packaging. When shopping, consumers can see at first glance whether a product is suitable for them. The V-label is awarded in Germany in the categories 'vegan' and 'vegetarian' by the VEBU. Not all substances used in production appear on the list of ingredients. So far, only by asking the manufacturer about a product can consumers be completely certain that a food is vegetarian or vegan. If the product is licensed with the V-label, consumers can be sure that it is a vegetarian or vegan product. (pm)