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© Martin Kieffer - Attorney
Kieffer Legal Services
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Conditions of use regarding the terms "vegan" and "vegetarian"

2016-05-18 07:30

On 22 April 2016 the German ministries for consumer protection agreed on the definitions of the terms “vegan” and “vegetarian” as follows:


(1)   Vegan foods do not contain animal derived products. Animal derived products  may not be added at any stage of processing in terms of

  • ingredients (including additives, carriers, flavors and enzymes)
  • processing aids
  • non-food additives  which are used in the same manner and for the same purpose like processing aids

irrespective of being used in a processed or unprocessed form.

(2)   Vegetarian food must comply with paragraph 1 of this article with the exemption of the following substances:

  1. Milk
  2. Foremilk
  3. Eggs
  4. Honey
  5. Bees wax
  6. Propolis
  7. Wool fat/lanolin derived from the wool of living sheep

irrespective of being used in their natural state, in form of their constituents parts or processed.

(3)   Unintentional contaminations/traces of products which do not comply with § 1 and 2 of this article are no legal obstacles for the labelling of these terms, provided that the contaminations/traces are unavoidable in a good manufacturing practice.

 (4)   Paragraph 1 to 3 also applies to terms other than “vegan” and “vegetarian” but with a similar meaning and/or to synonyms.


On 24 March 2016 the district court of Trier ruled that “Vegan Cheese” is not allowed to be used, because according to Regulation (EU) 1308/2103 the term “cheese is exclusively reserved for products on the basis of milk.


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