France to ban meat-related words on labels Executive Digest

In France, the birthplace of many ancient culinary and gastronomic traditions, meat-substitute proteins have created a ‘battle’ between producers and the agricultural sector, where the words may or may not be used on vegetarian and vegan food labels.

Now, French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau has announced plans to ban 21 words such as “beef” or “ham” from the labels of all plant-based foods.

If the change is approved, France will have some of the strictest rules regarding the use of certain terms related to meat in vegetarian and vegan meals, joining countries such as the United States or South Africa.

“It’s a question of transparency and loyalty to meet the reasonable expectations of consumers and manufacturers” and that putting an end to “misleading labels” is a key government priority and the ban is “key to “maintaining consumer confidence”.

Among plant-based meat substitute producers, the rebellion is in full swing. Jasmijn de Boo, global CEO of ProVeg International, argues that “consumers are not confused” and know “what they are looking for” when they go to buy these products, and these should have “logical names that people know”. ”.

The law, which has yet to be approved by the European Commission, bans terms that refer to specific parts of animals to describe processed foods or products containing plant proteins.

There is a second list with 120 names, such as “pork”, “chorizo” or “sausage”, which are allowed by the authorities to “describe animal foods containing vegetable proteins”, but with one condition: the amount of vegetable protein must not exceed a certain limit.

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Despite the limitations, the word “hamburger” does not appear on the ‘banned’ list.

If passed, the law would give manufacturers and distributors three months to change labels and find alternative ways to describe their herbal products.

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