‘Non-diary’ food labels face ban

By Kotryna Visockyte

The European Parliament is considering a ban on certain descriptions on vegan food labels.

If adopted, the ‘dairy ban’ would forbid the descriptions such as ‘yogurt-style’ or ‘cheese-alternative’ as well as phrases ‘contains no dairy’ or ‘creamy texture’.

A study issued by the Cornell University states: “When companies use terms that people traditionally associate with animal products – terms like ‘beef’ or ‘milk’ – on a plant-based food labels, consumers become confused about whether they are buying animal products,”

However, an Independent Member of the European Parliament for Portugal, Francisco Guerreiro argues against the proposal.

He tweeted: ‘‘To: Dairy industry and lobbied policy-makers. From: Customers. No, we actually don’t buy oat milk by mistake, contrary to what you have been saying as an excuse to restrict the marketing of vegan products. We know how to read labels and distinguish cow milk from a plant-based milk.’’

Currently EU law already prohibits plant-based food producers from labelling it by such terms as ‘‘vegan cheese’’ or ‘‘oat/almond milk.’’

ProVeg International created a petition to the European Commission and EU Member States urging the rejection of Amendment 171. It says: ‘‘We want you to put a halt to plant-based dairy censorship. Please reject amendment 171.’’

The petition points out the importance of the proper plant-based food labels for the need of the consumer to shift into more sustainable eating habits.