“Vegan Schnitzel” remains “Vegan Schnitzel”: Defeat for Federal Minister Schmidt
The German Food Book Commission (DLMBK) has started an association hearing on the draft of a guiding principle for vegetarian and vegan products. The draft states that meat alternatives on the product packaging can still be referred to as “vegan schnitzel” and “vegetarian bratwurst”. The VEBU had campaigned for consumer-friendly designations and had accordingly participated in the work of the DLMBK. However, questions remain unanswered.
"Schnitzel", "Bratwurst" and "Meatball": these and similar terms can still be used for vegetarian-vegan meat alternatives. The responsible specialist committee of the German Food Book Commission * (DLMBK) has started the association hearing on the draft of a higher-level guideline for the naming of vegetarian and vegan foods. The VEBU had campaigned within the technical committee for the admissibility of “meat terms”.
Till Strecker, Head of VEBU Policy, explains: “The decision of the DLMBK is a success for the VEBU and our commitment to the interests of consumers. Minister of Nutrition Schmidt failed to fundamentally ban ‘meat terms’. The decision for the admissibility of terms such as ‘vegan schnitzel’ and ‘vegetarian bratwurst’ is in the interest of everyone who wants to buy informative and attractively labeled vegetarian-vegan products. Labeling vegan and vegetarian alternative products with terms that are also used for foods with animal-based ingredients makes sense, as this enables many properties of a product to be identified at a glance. ”
Meat terms are allowed
The DLMBK does not comply with the demands of Federal Minister of Food Christian Schmidt, the German Farmers 'Association (DBV) and the German Butchers' Association (DFV), which had advocated a general ban on “meat names”. In the opinion of the DLMBK, general names such as “sausage” and “meatball” can continue to be used without restriction.
Criticism of the concrete design
Other terms that describe, for example, cuts of meat (eg "fillet" or "ham"), or are based on animal species (eg "chicken" or "beef") are not intended. In the opinion of the DLMBK, special designations such as "salami" should only be permitted via language detours such as "vegan tofu sausage in the salami style". “The logic behind this is not recognizable. The arbitrary distinction between different product categories with regard to the permissible naming and complicated linguistic constructs without the need for action: This cannot be made understandable to any consumer and does not correspond to the interests of the consumer, ”says Strecker. “The DLMBK intervenes here without being indicated based on the facts. There are no practical problems with naming meat alternatives that a guiding principle should address. ”
Voting process is still pending
Before the guiding principle finally finds its way into the food book, it is put up for discussion by associations in a coordination process. This process has now started. The VEBU will submit a detailed statement on this, which addresses the discrepancies in the draft principle.