What is in a name

The European Union plans in its post-2020 renegotiation of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), to include an amendment to EU regulations on a common market organisation for agricultural products, which includes restricting the name use of vegan and vegetarian products. This, for obvious reasons, has not gone down well in the non-dairy quarters of the food industry. After all, if you require that a nut paste shaped like a slice of cheese call itself “nut paste slice” rather than “vegan cheese”, there is a certain distaste for it. I can understand it.

I also see where the traditional makers of meat sausages and burgers, and dairy cheese and milks are coming from as well. A lot of time and energy is given over to making quality agricultural products in the EU, and respect should be paid to those products.

But then again, we have all been fine with calling “peanut butter”, “peanut butter” for ages and nobody’s raised a peep about it. I don’t think there are a lot of people confusing vegan products with their meat or dairy-based counterparts (aside from those who contact Dairy UK ranting about vegan cheese, which as seen above may often be a nut paste).

I guess part of it is that things have become so politicised in recent years. For some vegans, it’s not enough that they remove the animal products from their diets, it’s that you must too. And everyone rants about it on the internet. This is where things get sticky.

I say, respect must be paid to whatever part of the food sphere you live in. Most food producers of all types spend a lot of time and energy getting food on the table, and the hard work people put into their products should be appreciated. I may not buy nut paste slices, but you should have the opportunity. Or just eat dairy-based cheese.

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