Vegetable drinks, Europe is turning around: there will be no restrictions on the label and on the packaging

The European Union's turnaround on a bill that wanted to introduce restrictions on the packaging and marketing of "milk" and vegetable cheeses 

No label censorship for plant-based beverages: Europe retreats your city on its attempt to implement restrictions on the labeling, packaging and marketing of plant-based dairy products. The rule was included in the new Community Agricultural Policy (CAP) and now MEPs have agreed to delete the already discussed amendment 171, through which a move to censor vegetable alternatives to milk, yogurt and cheese had been launched.

Humane Society International / Europe, Being Animals and Compassion in World Farming your country Onlus, together with the European Alliance for Plant-based Foods (EAPF), had addressed in a letter to the European Commission and the Member States in the Council of the EU for stop the proposal.

Read also: Goodbye soy milk: 'If it's vegetable, it can't be called that'

It is the right decision towards a food transition in line with the sustainability objectives of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy. In the latter, in fact, the European Commission recognizes the need to switch to a more plant-based diet and expresses its desire to empower consumers and make it easier to choose healthy and sustainable diets. Encouraging wider uptake of the plant-based diet is a key means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use, as well as preventing the decline of global biodiversity and the many farming practices that conflict with animal welfare. We are pleased that, despite strong pressure from industry, the European Parliament has decided to withdraw amendment 171.

say the signatories Martina Pluda (HSI / Europe - your country), Claudio Pomo (Being Animals) and Annamaria Pisapia (CIWF your country Onlus).

Amendments 171 and 72 would have aimed at drastically extend existing restrictions on dairy names, introducing new prohibitions against any "direct or indirect use" or "evocation" of these terms. In particular, they provided for the prohibition of:

  • use of words such as "creamy" or "buttery" to inform the consumer about the texture and flavor of a plant-based food
  • use of plant-based food packaging similar in style (shape and color) to those used for dairy products
  • use of images such as those depicting a white plant-based drink being poured into a glass
  • use of terms as a "lactose-free alternative"
  • use of labels that report information about the climatic impact of foods, for example including a comparison between plant-based and dairy products regarding their carbon footprint.

This would have meant that manufacturers also had to review production lines.

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Posted by The Good Food Institute on Tuesday, May 25, 2021

With the EU turnaround, these proposals have been shelved. However, the current protections for dairy terms remain in force, which for some years had not allowed the use of words such as "milk", "yogurt" or "cheese" to indicate vegetable alternatives.

CIWF your country

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  • Vegetable milk, watch out for nickel and GMOs! The MARCHE promoted and rejected by the German test
  • Pea milk: properties, nutritional values ​​and how to prepare it at home
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