Joint statement: Vegan and vegetarian definitions

Published: 16/09/2021

(Brussels, 16 September 2021) The food and drink industry has joined with retailers and consumers to call for a legally-binding definition of the terms “Food suitable for vegans” and “Food suitable for vegetarians” in accordance with Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011.

To date, there is no legally binding definition of the terms “food suitable for vegans” and “food suitable for vegetarians” for food labelling purposes. Art. 36 (3)(b) of the Food Information Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 requires the European Commission to issue an implementing act on voluntary food information “related to suitability of a food for vegetarians or vegans”.

EVU, the umbrella organisation of vegan and vegetarian associations and societies throughout Europe, and FoodDrinkEurope, the organisation of the European food and drink manufacturing industry, came together in 2017 to ask the Commission to meet this obligation and propose wording for definitions of the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian” that can meet consumers’ and producers’ expectations.

EuroCommerce, on behalf of the European retail and wholesale sector, has now joined this request, making it a shared opinion of a considerable part of the food chain.

FoodDrinkEurope, EuroCommerce, and EVU urge the European Commission to meet the requirement in Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 and start work urgently on the implementing act provided for under the Regulation. All three associations are keen to support the Commission with their experience and expertise and ask the Commission to consider their proposal as a basis for a discussion which hopefully can start soon.