The European Parliament has voted against a ban on the use of terms like ‘burgers’ and ‘sausages’ in the labelling of plant-based products.
The proposal would have meant veggie burgers, soy steaks and vegan sausages could not continue to be sold as such in restaurants and shops in the EU.
A lobby group representing farmers across the union which backed the proposal said plant-based alternatives with names that brought meat to mind were misleading for consumers.
Opposing groups, which included Greenpeace and WWF, argued the ban would have exposed the EU to ‘ridicule’ and undermine its record on the environment.
They said moving towards plant-based diets is in line with the EU’s commitment to tackle global warming and that losing the right to use such terms might make plant-based products appear more obscure.
The verdict stands in stark contrast to restrictions on plant-based dairy alternatives.
Terms like ‘almond milk’ and ‘soy yoghurt’ have been banned since 2017, when the European Court of Justice ruled that plant-based products cannot be marketed using terms for animal products like ‘cheese’ and ‘butter’.
That ruling is the reason why such products in the UK are often labelled with terms such as ‘oat drink’ or simply ‘oat’ rather than ‘oat milk’.
The proposed amendment on food products said ‘meat-related terms’ and similar regulated names ‘shall be reserved exclusively for edible parts of the animals’.
It was approved by the European Parliament’s agricultural committee in 2019 before being sent for a vote by MEPs.
Two similar proposals by the Europe’s People’s Party (EPP) and the S&D Group, the two largest groupings of MEPs from centre-right and left-wing parties respectively, were also voted down.
After the vote, the European Consumer Organisation, an umbrella group of consumers’ associations, praised MEPs for showing ‘common sense’.
They said in a statement: ‘Consumers are in no way confused by a soy steak or chickpea-based sausage, so long as it is clearly labelled as vegetarian or vegan.
‘Terms such as “burger” or “steak” on plant-based items simply make it much easier for consumers to know how to integrate these products within a meal.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Source: Read Full Article