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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm a new vegetarian, I started at the start of the year and haven't so far even felt temptation to eat meat again, it's amazing how little I miss it! Anyway I have a question on rights for vegetarians. If a product is labelled as suitable for vegetarians is it illegal for it to contain meat or animal byproducts? (This is UK specific - I'm English) I've tried to find out and have trawled through what seems like miles of webpages but I can't find an answer. Any help would be much appreciated!<br><br><br><br>
Tenshi XXX
 

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No, I don't think so, although I have no proof. Companies may have a definition of what they choose to consider to be vegetarian and they base their labelling on that, I think.
 

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I was told a while ago, that pop tarts said they were vegetarian but werent (gelatine!) and got sued over it. that was america.<br><br>
england errr i dont know! Itd be misleading information? im not sure a company would risk that
 

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I tend to trust the information. I would say that it would be false advertising, but I don't know much about it. I know the co-op recently had a product mistakenly labelled 'suitable for vegans' (they had a notice up apologising) so it's not 100% foolproof, but I think that's pretty rare.
 

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There's no specific law but it could come under part of the Food Safety Act 1990. Food Labelling regulations cover things such as naming the food, best before dates, manufacturer info, storage instructions etc. There's also other requirements for labelling of allergens, additives and organic...there's nothing specific about labelling of foods as vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
(Though, if you're vegan it is law for allergens to be labelled and these include eggs and dairy and so the allergen information can be helpful to vegans.)<br><br><br><br>
However, under the Food Safety Act 1990...it's an offence to sell food not of tha nature, substance or quality demanded. Selling food not of the nature or substance demanded could include selling non-vegetarian food as vegetarian food. Manufacturers should be careful with labelling their foods in order to prevent it from being misleadingly labelled and if there has been labelling mistakes they should let the public know. Basically, whilst there's no *specific* law regarding vegetarian food labelling it can come under the general laws of the Food Safety Act 1990.
 

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I see a difference in your original question between "meat" and "animal byproducts". Nothing labeled as vegetarian should have meat in it, but aside from that, I think things get a bit more blurry.
 

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I haven't read it fully and I'm not sure if it's law but this is what I came up with.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.foodlaw.rdg.ac.uk/f-uk-new.htm" target="_blank">http://www.foodlaw.rdg.ac.uk/f-uk-new.htm</a> 6th April 2006 "FSA issues new vegetarian and vegan guidance for food labelling"<br><br><br><br>
-Engelsman
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for the help, I was only wondering because I recently found a chunk of beef in a "suitable for vegetarians" potato and leek soup from Heinz. I wasn't sure exactly what the law is on this kind of thing happening - so I don't know how far to take my complaint. I have of course complained to Heinz but haven't recieved a reply yet and I wondered if it would be possible to take it to the FSA. I was absolutely disgusted by it, by the time I found it I'd eaten most of the soup so I could well have eaten some bits of beef without realising. Even if I haven't eaten any I have made a conscious decision to avoid animal products, in the same way a Jew would not eat pork or a Muslim would only eat halal meat. Just because I'm not bowing down to a God doesnt make my beliefs and moral decisions any less valid (no offense to anyone who is religious) and that a vegetarian soup should contain meat, not even trace amounts but a sizeable chunk is (in my humble opinion) disgusting.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tenshi</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Thanks everyone for the help, I was only wondering because I recently found a chunk of beef in a "suitable for vegetarians" potato and leek soup from Heinz. I wasn't sure exactly what the law is on this kind of thing happening - so I don't know how far to take my complaint. I have of course complained to Heinz but haven't recieved a reply yet and I wondered if it would be possible to take it to the FSA. I was absolutely disgusted by it, by the time I found it I'd eaten most of the soup so I could well have eaten some bits of beef without realising. Even if I haven't eaten any I have made a conscious decision to avoid animal products, in the same way a Jew would not eat pork or a Muslim would only eat halal meat. Just because I'm not bowing down to a God doesnt make my beliefs and moral decisions any less valid (no offense to anyone who is religious) and that a vegetarian soup should contain meat, not even trace amounts but a sizeable chunk is (in my humble opinion) disgusting.</div>
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well, don't know about the 'suitable for vegetarians' symbol buyt if it wasn't listed on the ingredients I'm pretty sure that's illegal. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/veganpolice.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":notvegan:">
 

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Tenshi..was it one piece of meat? I'm just wondering because the company may just come back and say it was an accident. I'd definitely keep pressing them though. If they fail to respond after a timely manner, you could even suggest that you are planning to take the matter further. Be sure to keep copies of the letters you send.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Engelsman</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I haven't read it fully and I'm not sure if it's law but this is what I came up with.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.foodlaw.rdg.ac.uk/f-uk-new.htm" target="_blank">http://www.foodlaw.rdg.ac.uk/f-uk-new.htm</a> 6th April 2006 "FSA issues new vegetarian and vegan guidance for food labelling"<br><br><br><br>
-Engelsman</div>
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The FSA has no law making powers so no that won't be law. However, it's good they've now given manufacturers some guidance on this.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starelda</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
The FSA has no law making powers so no that won't be law. However, it's good they've now given manufacturers some guidance on this.</div>
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True, but it is a government department. It could probably propose a Bill to the Commons if it really wanted too.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Engelsman</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
True, but it is a government department. It could probably propose a Bill to the Commons if it really wanted too.</div>
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Surely only MPs can do that?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Black Heart</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Surely only MPs can do that?</div>
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MP's discuss and debate a Bill in the House of Commons and, if approved, make it to the House of Lords where, if approved there, get royal assent and become law. A government department is usually led by a government minister, who can propose Bills on behalf of his department. As the FSA is a non ministerial government department it doesn't have a government minister but still is able to meet with the PM and discuss possible future laws.<br><br><br><br>
What I'm saying is that the FSA could probably get a law passed on food labelling (if there isn't one already).
 

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There are already food labeling regulations....just not ones that include anything to do with vegetarian/vegan labeling <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Maybe someday that will change.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Thanks everyone for the help, I was only wondering because I recently found a chunk of beef in a "suitable for vegetarians" potato and leek soup from Heinz. I wasn't sure exactly what the law is on this kind of thing happening - so I don't know how far to take my complaint. I have of course complained to Heinz but haven't recieved a reply yet and I wondered if it would be possible to take it to the FSA. I was absolutely disgusted by it, by the time I found it I'd eaten most of the soup so I could well have eaten some bits of beef without realising. Even if I haven't eaten any I have made a conscious decision to avoid animal products, in the same way a Jew would not eat pork or a Muslim would only eat halal meat. Just because I'm not bowing down to a God doesnt make my beliefs and moral decisions any less valid (no offense to anyone who is religious) and that a vegetarian soup should contain meat, not even trace amounts but a sizeable chunk is (in my humble opinion) disgusting.</div>
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I don't know about animal 'by-products' as such, but I don't think that putting meat into a 'suitable for vegetarians' soup is acceptable. Whether it was an accident or not, you should complain to ensure it doesn't happen again.
 

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Even if it was an accident you should still be able to at least get a crapload of vouchers out of them.<br><br><br><br>
maybe thats why my cat loves leek and potato soup so much hehe.
 

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I think its one of those things where technically you should be able to sue in tort, but only if you can prove that you suffered some kind of damage (i.e. pshycological to the extent of it needing treatment; being upset isn't enough, or if it triggered an alergic reaction) so usually nothing comes of these things. If you dont have such damage, the best you can do is return it to the store, and demand your money back (which you are entitled to). The only exception to this might be if the company deliberately labeled as vegetarian a food which it was aware wasn't, in order to boost trade, in which case there might be a case for puniative damages.<br><br><br><br>
Really the best thing to do about it is complain to the company, and if they dont appologize then try to organize some kind of product boycot. I wouldnt boycot heinz over one misplaced chunk of beef, but if it seemed to be a regular occurence, or if they had labled soup as veg when it contained animal gelatine, I would be happy to join you in protest until they stopped doing it.
 
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