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Parliamentary questions
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19 June 2017
E-004044-17
Question for written answer E-004044-17
to the Commission
Rule 130
Paolo De Castro (S&D) , Giovanni La Via (PPE)

 Subject:  Vegan food products with misleading sales denominations
 Answer in writing 

On 4 June 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in Case C-195/14 that directive 2000/13/EC of 20 March 2000 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs must be interpreted as ‘precluding the labelling of a foodstuff and methods used for the labelling from giving the impression, by means of the appearance, description or pictorial representation of a particular ingredient, that that ingredient is present, even though it is not in fact present and this is apparent solely from the list of ingredients on the foodstuff’s packaging’.

On 14 June 2017, the CJEU further ruled in its judgment in Case C-422/16 that the term ‘milk’ must be reserved for animal products and must not be used in marketing or advertising to designate a plant-based product.

Given that in some cases food products that are purely plant-based are sold under designations referring to animal products or meat, and following the principle of non-discrimination — which requires comparable situations not to be treated differently and different situations not to be treated alike unless such treatment is objectively justified — does the Commission envisage the adoption of harmonised measures aimed at the provision of clear information on the suitability of vegetarian or vegan food products, in order to ensure that sales descriptions do not create confusion and mislead consumers in their choices?

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