Wednesday, 10 July 2024 13:55

Call to standardise vegetarian and vegan product labelling

Written by  Staff Reporters
A petition has been launched calling on the government to implement new product labelling legislation. A petition has been launched calling on the government to implement new product labelling legislation.

The New Zealand Vegetarian Society and the Vegan Society of Aotearoa have launched a petition to advocate for clear and standardised labelling for vegetarian and vegan products in New Zealand.

The petition calls on the government to implement legislation that ensures consumers can make informed choices about the products they purchase.

According to the two organisations, as the use of ambiguous terms – such as “plant-based” or “less dairy” – grows, it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to understand what is in their food without thoroughly reading the ingredient list.

They claim that this lack of clarity is of particular concern to those who have allergies or other dietary requirements – such as Jewish and Muslim people, vegans and vegetarians.

Ina Babic, spokesperson for the NZ Vegetarian Society (NZVS), says that clear and honest labelling is not only a matter of consumer rights, but a step towards a more transparent and ethical food industry

“The NZVS also offers Vegan certification and Vegetarian Approval for products, which consumers should look out for,” Babic says.

“With the current lack of legislation, these trademarks provide much-needed assurance that products meet strict criteria, helping to protect consumers from misleading labels.”

Meanwhile, Claire Insley, media spokesperson for the Vegan Society of Aotearoa, says her organisation consistently receives calls and emails from consumers regarding the issue of product labelling.

“We have written to the Food Standards Authority, the Ministry of [sic] Primary Industries, and the Commerce Commission, to no avail,” Insley says.

“It is not just vegans who need to avoid certain foods; this is also a problem for people who cannot read English very well and buy things based on pictures on the product,” she adds.

The two organisations want to see clear, standardized food labelling in order to enable consumers to make choices that align with their dietary preferences and/or requirements.

They say the initiative is crucial for protecting consumer rights and promoting transparency in the food industry.


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