The EU Bans the Label ‘Soy Milk.’ Is the Dairy Industry Feeling Threatened?

Posted on by PETA

In a ridiculous turn of events, the European Union’s Court of Justice has warned that companies that make dairy-style brands from soy or tofu must change their labels if their products don’t contain any dairy milk.

The court recently ruled that German food company TofuTown is ripping off and misleading its customers with plant-based products that have names like “Soyatoo Tofubutter” and “Veggie Cheese.” Like TofuTown, we think these labels are crystal clear and that companies shouldn’t be forced to change them.

Since 2013, EU regulations have stated that labels such as “milk,” “cheese,” and “butter” can be used for marketing only those goods that are derived from animal milk. There are some exemptions to this rule, however, including almond milk, coconut milk, peanut butter, and cocoa butter.

If anything, the EU should be encouraging the production of all plant-based foods. In addition to sparing numerous animals every year daily torment and a terrifying death, going vegan reduces a person’s risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, strokes, and cancer. Vegan foods are also greener, as raising animals for food is a leading cause of water pollution and land degradation, and the United Nations has concluded that a global shift toward a plant-based diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change.

Vegan living is growing in popularity all over the world, especially in Germany. The rising demand for plant-based products—including soy- and tofu-based milks and cheese—is not because customers are being “misled,” as the EU court claims, but because they’re growing more and more aware that vegan products are better for animals, the environment, and their health. In fact, the dairy alternative market is expected to reach $21.7 billion by 2022.

Instead, shouldn’t the EU encourage all companies to be more honest with their labeling? They should remove the images of those so-called “happy” cows and chickens from their milk cartons and “free-range” meats.

Last year, U.K. supermarket giant Sainsbury’s jokingly “renamed” its line of vegan cheese “Gary” after  the supermarket was the subject of a tremendous Facebook rant where a woman kicked off at the branding of dairy-free vegan products as “cheese”. Instead, she said: “Call it Gary or something just don’t call it cheese because it’s not cheese!”

Do you think that all plant-based cheese companies should have to rename their products?
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Written by PETA Asia intern Stephanie Anjos