from: Liz O'Neill, head of marketing and public relations, The Vegetarian Society
Sir; In his letter last week Alan Long expressed concerns about the Vegetarian Society's criteria for approving products licensed to carry the widely recognised Seedling' symbol (The Grocer, August 24).
The symbol does not seek to identify vegan products and is not intended as a substitute for ingredient lists or any other form of nutritional labelling.
It does, however, identify products that are suitable for vegetarians.
The term vegetarian was adopted by founding members of the Vegetarian Society in 1847.
They defined vegetarianism as abstinence from fish, flesh and fowl' and this is essentially the definition used by the society today.
The Vegetarian Society demands that any products which carry the seedling symbol must be free from animal flesh and slaughter by-products.
I commend Mr Long's personal choices and the Vegetarian Society always seeks to support those following a vegan lifestyle.
However, that does not dilute the value of a symbol that is recognised and trusted by 82% of the population as a guarantee of vegetarian suitability (according to recent research).