Vegan and Vegetarian Definitions

To date, there is no legally binding definition of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’, neither at EU nor at a member state level.

In 2011, the European legislator mandated the European Commission to issue an implementing act that sets out which foods are suitable for vegans and vegetarians (Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011).

The EVU calls for politicians and EU institutions to become aware that a definition is needed for people in Europe to make informed choices on what they buy as well as for producers and retailers. For years, the Commission has failed to fulfill its duty, but finally started work on the implementing act at the end of 2019.

Find more information in our position paper.

EVU provides translations of its proposed definition in several languages (pdf)CzechDutchEnglishFrenchGermanGreekItalianPolishPortugueseRomanianSpanishBulgarian.

In the meantime, EVU has issued a joint statement on this topic together with the European food industry, represented by the umbrella organisation FoodDrinkEurope and EuroCommerce, representing retailers and wholesalers.

Sporadically, the existence of traces of animal substances in food products labelled as vegan or vegetarian is considered to be problematic. EVU provides a detailed position on this topic.


The aim of EVU is to promote transparency on products suitable for vegans and vegetarians. As long as there is no legal definition and certainty for consumers, certification schemes can offer guidance when making purchasing decisions.

EVU endorses the V-Label.

Vegan and Vegetarian Label



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