What does vegan mean?

Created by Fussy Vegan, Modified on Sun, 26 Nov, 2023 at 8:15 AM by Fussy Vegan

The Vegan Society, which first created the term "vegan", defines veganism as :

"Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude-as far as is possible and practicable-all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

Whilst the above definition of veganism can be, and is, interpreted in different ways by different people, as it pertains to whether a product is vegan or not, there are set standards that the Vegan Society, Vegan Australia and other vegan organisations have set and we also use similar general standards, as do all major vegan certifying organisations around the world. There is also an ISO standard (23662) that covers vegan labelling of food products.

The Vegan Standards used by Fussy Vegan

1. Animals

The term "animal" refers to the entire animal kingdom. This includes all vertebrates and all multicellular invertebrates. Unless otherwise stated, it means non-human animals.

2. Animal Ingredients

The manufacture and or development of the product, and its ingredients, must not involve or have involved, the use of any animal product, by-product or derivative.

* In regards to animal ingredients being used in pre-harvest processes, such as fertiliser, we have determined that it is currently not feasible to accurately verify this for all or even most products, as most manufacturers would source their plant based ingredients from multiple sources, which can often equate to hundreds of different farms just for one ingredient in one product. To properly determine this, there would need to be in place something similar to RSPO certification for palm oil or Fair Trade for chocolate. This is certainly not something we would have any capacity to establish. There are readily available vegan friendly fertilisers available and in instances where we are able to verify the use of fully vegan fertilisers, we will add this information to the product information page in our app. If we are able to determine that animal ingredients have been used in the pre-harvest process, such as with Biodynamic farming, we will list those products as NOT VEGAN. Going back further into pre-harvest processes, such as land clearing, is also not currently feasible for most products. The reality is that every single parcel of land being used to grow agricultural products for human consumption has most likely been cleared and with that clearing the loss of habitat or even death for any number of animals.

3. Animal Testing

The manufacture and or development of the product, and its ingredients, must not involve or have involved, testing of any sort on animals conducted at the initiative of the company or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the company has effective control.

* Government mandated animal testing is considered as under the effective control of the company as companies choose to develop and or manufacture products knowing that animal testing for that particular product is required in certain countries.

** Unfortunately almost all ingredients used today have been tested on animals in the past. When considering the vegan status of a product and or ingredient that has been subject to historical animal testing, we will assess the product and or ingredient on a case by case basis. Where possible, we will consult with other vegan certifying organisations in these circumstances to try and provide a consistent approach to historical animal testing.

4. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

The development and or production of GMOs must not have involved animal genes or animal-derived substances.

5. Kitchen and Hygiene Standards

Both manufactured products and menu items must be prepared separately from non-vegan products/menu items. Reasonable steps must be taken to avoid cross contamination.

6. Product Packaging and Artwork

Product packaging and or artwork must not include any illustration or reference to an animal in distress, dead or in any manner that is inconsistent with veganism. Examples include, but are not limited to: showing circus animals, horse or dog racing, animals chained up, animals being butchered.

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