France becomes first EU Member State to ban use of ‘meat terms’ on vegetarian alternatives

France becomes first EU Member State to ban use of ‘meat terms’ on vegetarian alternatives

France has published a decree to stop vegetarian plant-based protein foods from describing themselves with terms traditionally used to describe meat products – with the exception of ‘burger’ - in a bid to counter increasingly popular meat alternatives. The ban will come into effect in October.

"It will no longer be possible to use terms proper to sectors traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products not belonging to the animal world," the decree reads.

France, the largest beef producer in the European Union, has said the ban on the use of terms traditionally associated with meat products aims to avoid consumer confusion. The decree has been keenly awaited by farmers and the meat industry with said Jean-François Guihard, head of the Interbev meat industry association saying “The measure is "an essential step in favour of the transparency of information for consumers, as well as the preservation of our products and know-how."

In a joint statement with other French food industry associations, FNSEA, France's farming union, noted ‘we have already obtained this framework at a European level for the designations of dairy products during the reform of CAP’, pointing to the fact that terms, such as ‘butter’, ‘milk’, and ‘cheese’ are protected on the European level and cannot be applied to plant-based products.

The ban, originally agreed in 2020 after campaigning by farmers, will only apply to manufactured and marketed in France, but not to goods produced in its European trade partners. FNSEA said it left the door open to imports and called for the matter to be pushed at Brussels so that similar laws be enacted "at the European level".

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