France to ban use of meat terms to describe vegetable-based products

Sausages on the barbecue with vegetarian sausages at the bottom and meat sausages at the top of the picture

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Only meat-based products will qualify to be labelled “sausages” under the new legislation

Vegetable-based products such as soya steaks or vegetarian sausages marketed as meat substitutes are to be banned in France for “misleading” consumers.

Food producers will no longer be able to use “steak”, “sausage” or any other meat term to describe products that are not partly or wholly made up of meat.

The measure will also apply to vegetarian or vegan products marketed as dairy alternatives.

Failure to comply will lead to fines of up to €300,000 (£260,000).

The regulation, which was tabled in the form of an amendment to an agriculture bill, was proposed by a farmer MP, who argues that products such as vegan sausages and other vegetarian alternatives are confusing for consumers.

“It is important to combat false claims. Our products must be designated correctly: the terms of #cheese or #steak will be reserved for products of animal origin,” tweeted Jean-Baptiste Moreau, a member of President Emmanuel Macron’s political movement La République En Marche.

The measure was approved by French MPs on Thursday.

Last year, the European Court of Justice ruled that plant-based foods could not be sold in the EU using terms such as milk, butter and cheese.

France to ban use of meat terms to describe vegetable-based products