Updated: Jul 9
In a recent exclusive report, published in The Guardian's article 'One in three UK vegan products found to contain milk or egg', it was revealed that more than a third of foods labelled as vegan in the UK actually contain animal products, such as milk or egg. The research findings have prompted concerns among experts who warn that shoppers with severe allergies could face tragic consequences.
Forensic scientists discovered traces of egg or milk in a variety of goods that were labelled as vegan or plant-based. This has led trading standards authorities to call for legal protection to prevent consumers from being exploited by unethical food businesses.
The lack of a legal definition for vegan food allows companies to market products as vegan even if they contain dairy or egg. Unlike the requirement for trace amounts of gluten, there is currently no threshold for animal-derived products in the UK or the EU.
A survey conducted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) found that 76% of respondents believed that products labelled as vegan were free from animal-derived ingredients. However, the absence of a clear legal definition undermines this belief and poses risks to individuals with allergies.
Improving legal requirements around food labelling is a crucial step to address this issue. Consumers are advised to be vigilant and check ingredients, especially on products labelled as plant-based or vegan, including ingredients like casein, lactose, whey, collagen, lard, or tallow.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs emphasizes that food labels should not be misleading and that ingredients causing food allergies must be clearly highlighted to ensure consumer confidence in the products they purchase.
This discovery serves as a stark reminder of the importance of supporting fully vegan businesses like Nama Cafe, where vegan customers can trust that everything is genuinely vegan. Together, we can send a powerful message to the industry that the demand for truly vegan options is growing.
By choosing fully vegan establishments, where veganism is not just a label but a way of life, we contribute to the growth and development of the plant-based movement.