‘Steak’, Sausage’, And More: France Bans Plant-Based Meat Names
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Lately, plant-based meat has been a part of discussions in the world’s culinary circuits. Preferred as an alternative for meat, this food product is specially created using vegetarian or vegan ingredients. Also known as vegan meat, fake meat, mock meat, faux, meat analogues, or simply plant proteins, this product has gained a lot of popularity among those who follow new-age diets. What’s making headlines, however, is that France has joined the list of countries that have banned plant-based meat to be marketed as “steak, chicken, bacon, and sausage”.

Well, for a vegan, this move could cause displeasure, but the meat industry in France is supporting it in order to protect French meat. This move by the French government is taken to prevent ‘consumer confusion’, as meat analogues become more realistic. France becomes the first European Union (EU) member to impose such a ban on sustainable meat alternatives. 

Explaining the move, a government representative said, “It will not be possible to use sector-specific terminology traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal world.” The French meat industry is celebrating the ban, which constitutes an essential step in favour of the transparency of information to the consumer.  

The new ruling, however, is only applicable to plant-based products that are manufactured in France, and the sale of all such products will get banned from October 2022. A noticeable thing here is that the ‘burger’ doesn’t appear on the list of products banned, and people will still be able to buy vegan burgers around the country. Well, some relief for people who will be tasked to find new words for vegans, who are already disappointed with the new ruling and expressed their displeasure quite blatantly.  

Nicolas Schweitzer, CEO of plant-based bacon pioneer La Vie, called the rule ‘delusional’. He said, “After pushing for the reindustrialization of France, the government has just passed a decree pushing us to relocate.” 

Echoing similar thoughts, the National Plant Food Observatory (ONAV), which promotes a plant-based diet, said that it is done in favour of economic interests. “This decree is part of a logic of extended protection of the economic interests of the meat sector,” the organisation stated on its website. It also said that terms like steaks, sausages, and nuggets are extensively used by consumers, and the names serve to give hints about the products’ taste, texture, and preparation methods.

France’s decision comes just days after South Africa’s government passed a similar ban on meatless manufacturers using names and terminology “prescribed and reserved for processed meat products”.