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Vegan Certification & Plant Based Product Testing

Vegan Certification & Plant Based Product Testing

Mérieux NutriSciences provides vegan product testing and consulting services to ensure plant based goods are done safely. We provide vegan certification tests to validate the absence of animal ingredients.

Vegan or Plant based foods can be defined as: “Food products produced with plant based/vegan products, ingredients and no animal products used in the production. No animal products present in the final product either.”

Currently, the main categories of plant based alternatives for animals products are:

  • Dairy substitute
  • Meat substitute
  • Other plant based products (plant based eggs, plant based ingredients, plant based seafood…)

Plant Based Product Testing in South Africa

Plant based meat analogue products are increasingly found in the South African market, and suppliers/producers may have questions with regards to what the products can be called (i.e. labelled), the claims they can make and what kind of testing should be done on these products.

Plant based alternatives to dairy and meat, are mainly based on soy, almond, rice, wheat, oat, cocoa and other non-animal products. Plant based food products include drinks, alternatives to yoghurt, desserts, creams, ice creams, cheese and spreads, as well as tofu, tempeh, seitan and alternatives to meat products such as plant based burgers or ready-meals.

In terms of naming products, Regulation R.146/2010 provides guidance on the types of claims that can be made for vegan markets. Products that are plant based may or may not have other ingredients in them. In the event that products are purely plant based (no animal-derived ingredients), they can make Vegan/Vegetarian claims.

Food Safety & Quality Challenges for plant based alternatives are:

A vegan diet excludes animal-based foods such as meat, including fish, as well as animal-derived products such as dairy and eggs. In the case of vegan products, it will be necessary to perform species identification.

  • Endospore-forming bacteria from raw materials (plants and seeds) that survive heating and may produce toxins.
  • Allergenic proteins (from plant based ingredients, especially insect proteins)
  • Pathogenic bacteria (from insect proteins)
  • Mycotoxins
  • Parasites (from insect proteins)
  • PAH, Nitrosamines and heterocyclic aromatic amines may also occur in plant based alternatives
  • Heavy metals, pesticides, hexane (in soy isolates)
  • Antinutrients. Legume seeds contain protein inhibitors of enzymes, phytic acids
  • Off-Flavors produced during the processing of plant materials (grassy, beany flavours from soybeans, bitter and astringent flavours from saponins and isoflavones. It’s necessary to formulate to mask or reduce the potency of these off-flavours.
  • Formulation, reformulation, shelf-life studies and process validation will be necessary to conduct to assure the expiration dates and safety of new plant based product services.
  • Meat alternatives products have near-neutral pH and high protein and moisture content, making them susceptible to microbial growth. Extrusion treatment is a critical control point that promotes the safety and shelf-life of the product.

Discover our vegan product testing services

We provide comprehensive support to the entire supply chain of vegan/plant based food.

The BeVeg standards demand research, auditing, verification, and animal DNA laboratory analysis (where applicable), as well as global supply chain accountability that meets the set vegan standards. Mérieux NutriSciences’ commitment to – BETTER FOOD. BETTER HEALTH. BETTER WORLD. – aligns perfectly BeVeg’s priority to protect consumers.

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