Dutch desert favourite Vanillevla may lose its name for lack of vanilla

Vanilla vla. Photo: Vera de Kok via Wikimedia Commons
Vanilla vla. Photo: Vera de Kok via Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch advertising code commission will decide on Tuesday if the name of a popular Dutch pudding – vanillevla – is a misleading term because the product doesn’t not actually contain any vanilla.

The procedure against the producers of the custardy concoction was started last year by independent food watchdog Foodwatch which claimed that the product is not labelled according to European rules.

Dairy producers FrieslandCampina, who make Optimel vanillevla, promised to adjust the recipe and packaging of their product earlier this year but appealed against the advertising code’s earlier decision on the basis of the use of the word ‘taste’.

A product may taste of something because a flavouring agent has been used without containing the ingredient it suggests, FrieslandCampina said.

Foodwatch claimed the practice of vanilla-free vla has been going on for years because food safety organisation NVWA turns a blind eye and won’t consider the matter because there is no danger to health.

This is unacceptable, the organisation said. ‘Consumers have a right to be protected against misleading labelling. Producers think they can get away with it. That has got to stop.’

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