The Government of the autonomous region of Andalusia, in southern Spain, is setting a system of control to ensure products labelled as vegan do not contain animal products. The General Directorate of Consumption of the Ministry of Health and Consumption of the Junta de Andalucía started a new inspection programme in the food sector, to control labelling and its compliance with the current regulations.
The inspection programme of plant-based food will be carried out by the Provincial Consumer Service of the Territorial Delegation of Health and Consumption of Almeria (one of the provinces of Andalusia). Twenty labelling controls and lab analyses of six products have been scheduled for this programme. Product inspection will verify aspects such as country of origin, list of ingredients, presence of ingredients of animal origin, presence of allergens, nutrition declaration, potential misleading claims, exaggerated health claims, and, interestingly, the display of images of animals in the labels —presumably, this is to prevent products that do not contain animal ingredients to mislead customers into believing they do contain them.
When customers are unsure about whether the products comply with regulations and what the labels claim is true, Andalusian citizens can now contact Consumo Responde, a free information and advice service for consumers and users, promoted by the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs of the Junta de Andalucía. People can also get advice from the Provincial Consumer Services of the territorial delegations of Health and Consumer Affairs present in all provincial capitals, as well as from the Municipal Consumer Information Offices (OMIC) and consumer and user organizations.