Media statement


Re: Meat-free meals story in The Telegraph

9 June 2018  (last updated 00:10h)


On Saturday 09 June, The Telegraph published a story claiming some vegan and vegetarian products had been found to contain trace amounts of animal DNA. 

The products named included Sainsbury’s meat-free meatballs which carries the Vegetarian Society Approved trademark.

Sainsbury’s are understandably concerned about these alleged findings as the product is produced in a meat-free factory. We share these concerns and are pleased Sainsbury’s are carrying out a comprehensive investigation.

We provided the following statement to The Telegraph prior to the publication of the article.  


Lynne Elliot, Chief Executive of the Vegetarian Society, said:

"The Vegetarian Society runs a trademark scheme, the purpose of which is to help customers identify vegetarian and vegan products more easily.

"We have stringent criteria that any product must meet in order to display one of our trademarks. We check ingredients and suggest alternatives where necessary, check production processes including possible cross-contamination points, offer advice on best practise, and assess risk. We conduct site visits where needed but, for example, where a facility manufactures exclusively vegetarian products, this would usually be considered unnecessary.

"It is the producers' responsibility to ensure production processes are followed and to reduce as far as possible the chance of human error. In the unlikely event of a mistake happening, we are always happy to work with a producer to help minimise the chance of future occurrences.

"We have found that every company we have ever worked with wants to do their absolute best for their vegetarian or vegan customers and we are proud to work with such an extensive range of companies, big and small."


We will be updating this story as soon as we have more information.  










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Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358 (England and Wales),
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The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

Fundraising Regulations