Veggie Burgers Won’t Be Renamed Veggie Discs, European Union Rules
The European Union has ruled against renaming vegetarian burgers or other non-meat food products.
It was bad news for vegetarians and vegans that don’t wish to be associated with eating ‘burgers’ or ‘sausages’, after the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) had pushed for amendments in how certain foods were labelled and subsequently named.
The committee confirmed the decision on Twitter, writing:
#FutureofCAP: MEPs rejected all proposals to reserve meat-related names for products containing meat. No change for plant-based products & names they currently use when being sold. Final #EPlenary vote on #CAPreform later today.
The AGRI had originally petitioned for the aforementioned ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’ descriptions, alongside ‘cheese alternative’ and ‘yoghurt style’, to be prohibited from use.
While those within the industry deemed the decision a win in retaining brand familiarity, as they claimed that the banning of certain associative words was discriminatory and could hinder product sales. It was noted, however, that any dairy association with non-dairy products would have to stop.
The European chapter of Humane Society International tweeted:
MEPs vote down proposed #veggieburgerban amendment 165 (379 against, 284 for, 27 abs).
However, victory bittersweet as MEPs voted to ban any direct or indirect reference to dairy foods for #plantbased products.
Disagreements arose when the side opting to remove the words by association said that including the word ‘burger’ confused consumers when it came to distinguishing what did or did not contain meat, and should be removed.
Its opposition, however, said that removing words would unfairly impact the industry, hindering the sales of vegetarian or vegan products if they were forced to use substitute terms like ‘discs’.
‘The Commission’s proposal is likely to confuse European consumers who are already accustomed to terms such as ‘veggie burger’ or ‘plant-based steak’,’ said Asger Mindegaard, the European Environmental Bureau’s (EEB) policy officer for Agriculture, prior to the new decision.
He went on to explain that people ‘buy such products specifically because they want to replace one specific meat product with a healthier alternative’.
‘The common goal of governments, businesses, and institutions should be to encourage the uptake of sustainable solutions and alternatives. Instead, in this case we are all wasting time debating a superfluous regulation that will benefit only a few big players in the meat industry,’ he concluded.
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