What are the label-advantages for consumers?
On products:
  • You can see immediately that a product does not contain slaughter products.
  • The criteria for vegetarian and/or vegan products correspond to the rules recognized internationally by all vegetarian organizations.
  • An independent label, which is used on the products of various manufacturers, is more trustworthy than a not controlled label of the food industry
In Restaurants:
  • The label guarantees accurate menu-declaration.
  • Already at the entrance it becomes evident, by the label, that a restaurant offers also suitable dishes for vegetarians.
  • The restaurants using the label are mentioned in special lists and are, on inquiry, recommended for vegetarian guests. This V-label restaurant list facilitates the finding of suitable companies.
  • Unannounced controls of the companies offer maximum security to the guests by ensuring that the conditions are constantly respected.
  • By means of their special know-how, the responsible vegetarian organizations help developing the often meat-based training of chefs and thus prevent misunderstandings between guests and kitchen personnel.
  • Laborious analyzing of the composition of dishes as well as unpleasant and time-consuming further inquiries are prevented on both sides.
  • People suffering from allergies do not need to fear hidden animal ingredients (allergies regarding egg- and milk-components belong to the most frequent food allergies) since also in this regard the personnel is instructed thoroughly and the dishes are all categorized correctly.
  • Erroneously declared menus are a thing of the past, thanks to the consultation process before (and after) the granting of licences.
Criteria for the V-label

The following products are excluded from the use of the V-Label:

  1. Animal flesh (meat, fowl, fish, seafood).
  2. Ingredients derived from meat or bone-products (in soups, sauces or other preparations)
  3. Animal fats (except milk fat), frying fat or margarine containing fish-oil or similar products in cakes, pies, pasta, for frying or baking, for greasing baking-traws, tins, or any other manipulation.
  4. Gelatine, aspic, gelling agents of animal origin.
  5. Royal Jelly.
  6. Other products containing ingredients originating from slaughterhouse by-products.
  7. Battery eggs.

All products declared as GVO (=contains genetically modified organism) are prohibited, too.

Specific ingredients
Blockquote text
Cheese

Cheese is usually manufactured with traditional rennet made with enzymes from calves’ stomaches and is therefore not acceptable, whereas vegetarian cheeses manufactured with enzymes of vegetable origin or micro-organisms are acceptable.

Fats&Oils

Fats and oils need to be of vegetable origin. Margarine needs to be checked. It may contain ingredients which may be derived from animal fat, vitamins A and E which may be stabilised with gelatine, or vitamin D, which may come from lanolin of slaughtered sheep – these ingredients are not acceptable.

Honey

Honey is acceptable. But not acceptable for vegan products.

Fruit Juices - Alcoholic beverages - Vinegar

These need to be chequed. They may have been clarified with gelatine, egg-white (usually battery), isinglass (swim-bladders of sturgeon fish) or chitin (crushed lobster or crab shells) – not acceptable.

Whey

Whey should only be used if derived from a vegetarian cheese making process which included microbial or plantbased rennet.

Worcestershire Sauce

Often contains anchovies, needs to be checked.

Additives

Need to be checked with regard to their possible animal origin.

For which groups of consumers is a category suitable?
Green cells: The corresponding group consumes such products/menus.
Yellow cells: The corresponding group consumes such products/menus only with some restrictions.
Red cells: The corresponding group does not consume such products/menus.
Group      vegan lacto-vegetarian ovo-vegetarian ovo-lacto-vegetarian with meat, egg, milk
uncritical meateaters
consciously meateaters only a few eggs (cholesterol) from bio-free-range-hens only a few eggs (cholesterol) from bio-free-range-hens prefer bio-meat, bio-eggs and low fat meals
animal-protectors only with free-range eggs only with free-range eggs only meat and eggs form animals that are well kept
Jews don’t eat meat from certain animals. Other animals have to be ritually slaughtered.
Moslems don’t eat pork. Other animals have to be ritually slaughtered.
Hindus for Hindus eggs are equal to meat for Hindus eggs are equal to meat Hindus are lacto-vegetarians
“Occasional vegetarians” only if no acceptable vegetarian alternative exists
Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarians prefer free-range-eggs prefer free-range-eggs
Ovo-vegetarians prefer free-range-eggs
Lacto-vegetarians
Vegans
Animal rights activists

The result is: The less animal ingredients are contained in a given product/menu, the larger becomes the potential customer interest.
In this list it is assumed that vegan products taste just as good as those with animal ingredients.
This is absolutely possible but could involve a certain adjustment effort by some chefs/product developers who before have cooked almost exclusively in a meat-based fashion. Of course, in such cases the license-givers of the European Vegetarian label will assist gladly.

What is still missing in this list: Persons who cannot consume certain animal products for health reasons. An example: in Switzerland (according to the Swiss milk producer federation) 17 % of the population suffers from a lactose incompatibility and thus has problems with products containing milk. In France even 42 % of the population is affected. For these persons products containing lactose lead to indigestion and therefore for them only “Ovo vegetarian” and “vegan” choices are suitable.

In the catering trade

For the ingredient of menus, which are certified by the label, the same guidelines apply.

Furthermore each particular restaurant must offer at least one label menu, which is to be changed as often as the one altered most frequently (thus usually another vegetarian menu per day). Besides two further vegetarian dishes must be offered.

The restaurants are controlled regularly regarding adherence to these guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why do we need this label?

Until now the ever increasing number of vegetarians and food conscious consumers had no way of finding out whether a product was really vegetarian or not. In addition, ordering a vegetarian meal in many restaurants was a question of luck not judgement.
This label tackles and solves both of these problems comprehensively.
More reasons for this label are listed below: Why this label?

Why isn’t the list of ingredients sufficient?

In the case of pre-prepared meals such as soups and sauces, it is usually not immediately obvious if it contains meat stock or animal fat. In order to read a list of ingredients correctly quite a bit of practice is needed. In addition there are even ingredients where it is not clear whether they can be classified as vegetarian or not. Animal fat for example, can mean not only butter, but also fat from slaughtered animals (although as a rule this type of fat is labelled). In the case of additives, E472 for example, and many others, it is impossible to find out just by looking at the ingredients whether a product with additives has been manufactured using dead animals or not. In addition there are ingredients of animal origin which, for various reasons, do not have to be declared: for example rennet, which comes from the stomach of a calf, is added to the cheese making process, or gelatine, for the manufacture of vinegar and fruit juices. Even after making inquiries about the critical ingredients with the producer and being very knowledgeable about food production, there is always the problem that the ingredients of a product can be changed unannounced.
Just one look at the V label will therefore simplify shopping for vegetarian products dramatically.

Who is this label aimed at?

By having such a clear declaration the label helps not only all vegetarians (from ovo-lacto-vegetarians to vegans) but also is a great help to all those who suffer from allergies or who have health complications if they eat animal products.
A further group are those who do not want to eat certain animal products for religious reasons (i.e. Muslims: pork; Jews: non-ritually slaughtered animals; Hindus: meat and eggs etc.). No religion forbids vegetarian fare, but many have strong restrictions with regard to consuming animal foodstuffs.
And of course for everyone else, who, for whatever reason, really wants to eat vegetarian.

What lies behind the label?

The European Vegetarian Label has been registered European-wide in cooperation with the European Vegetarian Union, by the V-Label GmbH which is co-ordinating the introduction of products and services labelling at the moment.
In individual countries the label will be represented by their respective national organisations.

What do Vegans get from this label?

Although it is a vegetarian label, Vegans also profit from it. In licensed restaurants all the meals classified by the label will be noted in the vegetarian section, so it will be obvious which are suitable for Vegans and which are not. Where this is not possible, the staff will at least have been thoroughly trained, so that Vegans will also be served properly.

What do the Vegetarian categories mean?

The V-label will assign four categories and these will be:

  • Ovo-lacto-vegetarian (with milk and eggs)
  • Ovo-vegetarian (with eggs, no milk)
  • Lacto-vegetarian (with milk, no eggs)
  • Vegan (without any animal products)

Naturally strict conditions will apply to every category with regard to slaughter products. Of course under milk and eggs every ingredient will be understood (whey, egg white, egg-lecithin, milk sugar etc.) Moreover, honey is only forbidden in the vegan category. The classification into these four categories is internationally uniform. In Switzerland it is even legally laid down in the new food regulations.