The vegan shoarma pizza is the latest addition to New York Pizza's pizza range. This launch did not go unnoticed, as is often the case with this pizza specialist. Earlier, we reported that the campaign promoting the cauliflower pizza base caught the consumer’s eye. In the video (humorous, and therefore allowed) and on the bus stop advertising poster (too sexist, not allowed) a stripped upper body of a woman was shown with two cauliflowers in front of her breasts. 

Later, there were also complaints about the 100% chicken bacon pizza. The name would be misleading, because bacon is made of pork. But it all ended well last summer: bacon is not a protected meat designation and therefore does not have to come from a pig. It was sufficiently clear that in this case the bacon was made from chicken.

Now the vegan shoarma pizza is the subject of discussion. According to the complainant, the term 'vegan' is misleading. New York Pizza’s website states that the pizza contains no traces of milk (including lactose) and egg. But this pizza is made with vegetable 'chicken shoarma' of The Vegetarian Butcher in a factory where vegetarian products (with egg and milk) are also produced. Because the risk exists that the 'vegan chicken shoarma' contains traces of egg or milk, it should not be called vegan (but instead: vegetarian). The complainant refers to legislation on 'cross-contamination' in respect of allergens. Gluten, shellfish, peanuts, but also milk and egg are examples of allergens. If a foodstuff contains allergens, this must be clearly indicated on the label.

The chairman of the Advertising Code Committee concludes that all ingredients of the 'vegan chicken shoarma' pizza are plantbased. Therefore, the claim 'vegan' is correct. The legal rules regarding the mention of allergens are specifically intended for substances that can cause a (severe) allergic reaction and are used as ingredients. According to the chairman, these allergen rules do not apply when assessing the question whether it is misleading to call a product 'vegan' if it is produced in a factory with vegetarian products containing traces of egg and milk. For now, this is a logical decision, because there is no legal obligation (yet) for a "may contain traces of [allergen]" statement for vegan products. The broad discussion about stating the risk of unintentional cross-contamination of allergens on the packaging of all kinds of products, and how this should be done, is in full swing all the way to the level of the WHO. You will hear a lot more about 'traces of [allergen]' in the future.