European Parliament rejects Amendment 171 to censor 'dairy words' on plant-based products in landmark win for sustainability battle
Legislation Amendment 171, which planned to censor ‘dairy words’ on plant-based products, has been rejected by the European Parliament in a landmark win for the sustainability movement.
AM171 was challenged by nearly half a million consumers in a petition started by ProVeg International.
AM171 was voted in favour by European MEPs last year, claiming that plant-based products with descriptions such as ‘creamy’ and ‘alternative to dairy yoghurt’ can be “confusing” for consumers.
“A common-sense victory”
With support from NGOs such as Greenpeace, WWF, Greta Thunberg, and even Oatly, Nestle and Alpro joining the fight against the controversial ‘dairy ban’ on plant-based products.
Scientific organisations such as IPCC, FAO, and WHO publically opposed the legislation. Unanimously endorsing the urgent need for a plant-based diet.
Vice President of ProVeg International Jasmijn De Boo labeled the win as “A common-sense victory”
Sharing “We applaud the EU for its clear-sightedness under immense pressure from environmentally reckless interests.”
What is Amendment 171?
AM171 is the draft legislation that sought to impose severe restrictions on plant-based foods. The legislation was proposed by the European Parliament AGRI committee.
Implications of AM171 would include restrictions on plant-based products such as:
- Familiar packaging formats including cartons of plant-based milk or a block of plant-based margarine.
- Visual depictions of plant-based foods if they could be judged to be ‘evoking’ or ‘imitating’ dairy.
- Science-based claims that compare plant-based foods, for example, ‘half the emissions of dairy butter”.
- Essential allergen information such as “does not contain milk”
- Useful descriptive terms such as “creamy”, “buttery” or “vegan alternative to yoghurt”.
“An attempt by the dairy industry to block the rise of the vegan movement”
If the results of AM171 rejections have gone in favour of the ruling, not only would it be contradictory to Europes progressive climate battle – such as its commitment to reduce GHG by 55% by 2030. But also the effect on plant-based food manufactures would have been detrimental, specifically small and independent plant-based businesses.
The ruling would have forced vegan businesses to spend thousands on redesigning new packaging. Making it illegal for vegan alternatives to use the same style cartons and pots as dairy products.
Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns, Policy, and Research for the Vegan Society said “This was simply an attempt by the dairy industry to hold back the rise of the vegan movement”
There are already restrictions in place for plant-based products in the EU. For example, you cant market ‘soya milk’ only ‘soya drink’, and the term ‘vegan cheese’ still remains illegal, deeming the description as apparently misleading and confusing.
The win against AM171 proves how much momentum the vegan and sustainability movement has. With scientific backing supporting that plant-based diets and better for the environment, we hope to see more encouragement from governments to follow a vegan diet.
Want to join the sustainability movement? Heres 10 simple steps to lead a sustainable life.