The Vegan Society, which first created the term vegan, defines veganism as:
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.
What is the criteria for a product to be considered vegan?
1. The product contains no animal ingredients.
2. No animal derived ingredients have been used in the manufacturing or production process. For example, using gelatine to filter apple juice for clarity would be considered NOT VEGAN.
3. Vegan menu items must have been prepared separately from non vegan items and all reasonable steps have been taken to avoid cross contamination.
4. The product or any ingredients in the product have not been tested on animals. This is not as simple as we once thought it was. At some stage in history, we strongly suspect that just about every ingredient used in food, health, beauty, cleaning, stationary products and so on has most likely been tested on animals by someone. We have to have a line somewhere, otherwise there is just chaos and confusion. Our line is that if the manufacturer has either directly tested or been willingly compliant in testing any of the ingredients of the product or of the whole product itself then the product is NOT VEGAN. For example, selling beauty products in China when the manufacturer would know that under Chinese law, the government is going to test their product on animals would be considered willingly compliant in animal testing and NOT VEGAN. The same would apply if a manufacturer paid a third party to do animal testing for them. The animal testing rule will apply to the specific product and not the company as a whole. This means that if a particular product was tested on animals but another product by the same manufacturer was not, then we may still consider the product that was not tested as vegan. Products that have been available for a long time and may have been tested in the distant past but have not been tested in recent times will be assessed on a case by case basis.
5. 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 or even the inclination to do, as it is far outside our business model as vegan app developers. 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.
6. Product packaging 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.
What is an animal in regards to veganism?
The Vegan Society defines an animal to mean:
The Vegan Society understands the word animal to refer to the entire animal kingdom, that is all vertebrates and all multicellular invertebrates. The word may be used either as a noun or an adjective and to refer to either a species or an individual animal, depending on context. Unless otherwise stated, it usually means non-human animals.
Is it healthy to eat a vegan only diet?
Yes it is! We are not medical doctors, so we cannot offer specific advice, but below are a few links to help you decide if a strictly vegan diet will work for you.