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UK grocery drops vegan food labeling – maybe?

Filed under: Allergies Food Shopping UK
Not even Google image search wants you to see that little green leaf!

Not even Google image search wants you to see that little green leaf!

After a few years as the UK’s “Disneyland for vegans,” Sainsbury’s has stopped labeling their house-brand products “vegan” even though the foods still are. In an e-mail to a pissed-off customer, Sainsbury’s PR wrote: “We do not feel it is vital information. We believe this, as it is a personal choice to follow a vegan diet and is not as important as allergy advice.” Apparently you can’t fit both on the package?

There’s a good deal of confusion as to what things will be labeled now. Some shoppers say stuff they know is vegan is labeled as just “vegetarian,” while others say no store products have any veg labels at all; some customers have been told they’re the only ones complaining, while others have been told the labels will remain the same.

Sainsbury’s doesn’t list an e-mail on their website, but you can contact them by phone at 0800 636262 and by mail at: Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd., 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Even if you don’t live in the UK, any kind of support on this issue could make a difference for grocers in the US and elsewhere.

Update: Sainsbury’s is claiming this is all a miscommunication and that they still have vegan labels. Yay.

1 Comment

  1. Comment by

    frank language

    on #

    This comment from the Vegan Porn blog:

    “Obviously it is not a matter of willingness to put it on the label. Sainsbury’s has applied a lot of spin to what is clearly their real reason: the inability or unwillingness to make certain that every ingredient (even those purchased from outside) is 100% vegan.

    “It is especially difficult because there is such disagreement among vegans about what is pure enough. Was some ingredient present in minute quantities filtered through a waste product of meat production? Was a piece of equipment used which might have had contact with non-vegan foodstuffs? &c.

    “Compare this to another personal dietary choice. Sainsbury’s does not certify its own kosher food, but will presumably mark the labels appropriately. If someone with the authority to certify that an item is vegan is willing to monitor every stage of the production of that item, I am sure that Sainsbury’s would be willing to put the stamp of approval on the item.”