Set out below are the explanatory links to all the symbols
and icons used on various product pages within the site.
For consumers the Vegan Society’s trademark installs faith that a product bearing the symbol fulfils and suits their needs. The Trademark guarantees that these products meet the high standards of The Vegan Society and are made with respect for the consumer’s choices.
Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines.
Veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism; like vegetarians, vegans don’t eat any animals that have been killed and also avoid animal products altogether, so that means no eggs or dairy products and, usually, no honey either.
The Vegetarian Society Approved Trademark is the UK's most widely recognised vegetarian symbol. If you see the symbol on packaging and in restaurants, you can be confident that the product or food has undergone stringent checks to meet our vegetarian criteria.
To be approved a product must fulfill all of the following criteria:
- Be free from animal flesh (meat, fowl, fish or shellfish), meat or bone stock, animal or carcass fats, gelatine, aspic or any other ingredients resulting from animal slaughter.
- Contain only free range eggs, where eggs are used.
- Be free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
There must be no cross contamination with non-vegetarian products during the production process.
Be cruelty-free - no animal testing is permitted.
Being vegetarian means feasting on a wide range of foods: all the luscious fruits and vegetables you can think of; wonderful, comforting beans and lentils; nuts and seeds, free-range eggs and flavoursome cheeses.
It means living a life that does not involve killing fish and animals for food, so no meat, poultry or fish, and nothing that has been taken from meat, such as lard, dripping or goose fat.
Animal products are often used in the process of making foods and vegetarians and vegans have to check carefully for these.
For example, gelatine (made from the bones and connective tissue of animals) is used as a gelling agent in many sweets and jellies and is also used in some low-fat spreads and desserts; fish is often used in the wine-making process and rennet (from the stomachs of young calves) is used to make some cheeses.
The Soil Association is a charity which promotes and develops sustainable approaches to food, farming and other products. They run an organic standards setting programme to write, update and modify the rules and regulations for organic production and processing as necessary.
As a result of this rigorous standards setting process some of our standards (rules and regulations) are higher than those given by the law for organic food.
The Soil Association Certification is a wholly owned subsidiary of the organisation. It carries out inspections and awards organic certification to farms and businesses that meet our standards. You will notice their symbol and certification number (UK 5) on many items of organic produce.
Their certification business is the oldest and most experienced organic certifier in the UK and licenses about 80% of the organic food on sale in this country.
USDA Organic is a labelling term which indicates the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labelled USDA organic.
Overall, organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances.
It took many years for the US government to define "organic," but today, the organic industry is highly regulated.
Producers must follow a stringent set of rules to be considered USDA Organic: They can't use any synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or GMOs. Organic meat, egg and dairy products cannot include growth hormones or antibiotics.
Livestock are required to have year-round grazing access and given non-GMO feed. Additionally, a farm cannot have had any of the prohibited substances used on its land for three years prior in order to qualify for USDA Organic status
Contrary to popular belief, a USDA Organic label does not mean no pesticide use. Pesticides derived from natural sources (like biological pesticides) may be used in producing organic food. Another misunderstanding is the use of synthetics in general. Some synthetic material can actually be used in organic foods, such as pheromones and animal vaccines.
Is there a difference between "Organic" and USDA Organic?
Yes! There is a divide for a number of reasons
Firstly, it is expensive for a farm to apply for USDA Organic certification. Secondly some farmers don't believe in the USDA's organic regulations and think that no pesticides or synthetic materials should be used under organic certification.
Thirdly, some farms aren't past that three-year requirement of no pesticide use and therefore are not eligible.
The Control Union Certification of a company being eligible for their Social and Fair Trade Standard (“CU Fair Choice”) is based in the development of human, social, environmental and economic principles. In order to be certified, enterprises must meet a minimum percentage of compliance of the criteria listed in this standard.
Being certified to Social and Fair Trade is a guarantee that the enterprises are committed to sustainable development and improvement of social conditions, meeting the demands of conscious consumers, whose numbers are increasing in every country and thereby creating new market possibilities.
European Union Organic
If used on a product, the EU organic logo indicates that this product can be legally qualified organic because it is in full conformity with the conditions and regulations for the organic farming sector established by the European Union.
For processed products it means that at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients are organic. Next to the new EU organic logo, a code number of the control body is displayed as well as the place where the agricultural raw materials composing the product have been farmed
The main objective of the European logo is to make organic products easier to be identified by the consumers. Furthermore it gives a visual identity to the organic farming sector and thus contributes to ensure overall coherence and a proper functioning of the internal market in this field
While the standards differ worldwide, organic farming in general features cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.
Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed, although certain approved pesticides may be used. In general, organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or synthetic food additives.
Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders.
In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. Although the produce of kitchen gardens may be organic, selling food with the organic label is regulated by governmental food safety authorities, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) or European Commission.
There is insufficient evidence in the medical literature to support claims that organic food is safer or healthier than conventional food. While there may be some differences in the nutrient and anti-nutrient contents of organically and conventionally produced food, the variable nature of food production and handling makes it difficult to generalize results
Claims that organic food tastes better are generally not supported by evidence.