October 28, 2007 Food & Beverage News
(PRLEAP.COM) Initiatives by vegans for World Vegan Day include a petition to the UK Prime Minister to legislate for a legal definition of the word ‘vegan' similar to ‘Organic' protection. The UK Government admit there is no legal definition of the word vegan or vegetarian. There is only recently released guidance from the UK Food Standards Agency for manufacturers.
Apart from trading standards regulation that states that products should be suitable for the use intended and trade description regulations there is nothing in law to protect ethical consumers.
As part of a number of initiatives for World Vegan Day, 1st November, Vegans are calling upon the UK Government to draw up a framework using the model of the ‘Organic' standard and The Indian Government's experiences to create a legal definition for ‘vegan' and ‘vegetarian'
"Unless a product has The Vegan Society or Vegetarian Trademark on it, and thus protected by Trading standards laws to comply with a set criteria, the consumer currently has no real legal protection that something labelled as vegan truly is" warns author of ‘ Vegan' Tony Bishop-Weston.
Consumers buying organic do have protection as anything calling itself organic must have been vetted by one of a number of Government approved licensing agencies such as The Soil Association.
The Vegan Society, The Vegetarian Society, The European Vegetarian Union and ViVA!'s Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation all have schemes that it's believed could be used to follow the organic model.
The Indian Government has already made moves to legally protect 220 million vegetarians in India where there are even completely vegetarian neighbourhoods that meat eaters are legally being barred from.
Other World Vegan Day initiatives include a poll to establish why, given the moral, environmental and well proven health benefits of a vegan diet, that over half the population are still committed red meat and dairy consumers.
Vegans are also campaigning for the first nationally available vegan pizza.
Pizza Express scrapped plans just days before a series of planned World Vegan Day pizza events in November 2004 despite finding high quality and realistic vegan alternatives to pepperoni, ham and dairy free melting mozzarella. According to supervegans.org Vegan Pizzas are common place in New York, but a UK chain has so far failed to take advantage of the rapidly expanding market.
"Even McDonalds and Burger King have vegetarian society approved veggie burgers these days. I'm amazed a pizza chain hasn't realised the potential of this massive market and created a vegan pizza with meat free pepperoni and dairy free cheese topping" says a flummoxed Bishop-Weston.
Meanwhile Glasgow University has become the first UK University to achieve Sunflower Caterer status and licensed to use The Vegan Society international trademark. They join other vegan establishments in Glasgow such as Mono, The78, Stereo and The Flying Duck.
World Vegan Day 2007 is expected to make a far bigger impact than usual following the participation of 88 UK high street stores of anti animal testing, funky, super-green cosmetics manufacturer Lush.
Vegans will be celebrating veganism's birthday all over the world from Croydon to Melbourne and from Montreal to Los Angeles.