Blue Heron, a small vegan cheese shop in Vancouver, has been told by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that it must stop using the word “cheese” to market its products.
In an e-mail sent on Jan. 21, a CFIA staff member said it had received a complaint about “products being labelled as ‘cheese’ when they are allegedly not.” In follow-up correspondence shared with The Globe and Mail, the company was also told that it could not use hyphenated modifers (i.e. plant-based, dairy-free vegan cheese) – even though many small businesses across Canada use similar product descriptions, some with approval from the CFIA.
The labelling of vegan products has been a growing issue for non-dairy producers, who are confused about the regulations, uncertain as to what words they can use and concerned by apparent discrepancies in a system where enforcement is initiated by anonymous complaints.
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