Industry leaders have championed an amendment to the French agricultural bill to ban the use of meat labelling on vegetable substitutes.
The measure was approved last Thursday (April 19) following a proposal from farmer MP Jean Baptiste Moreau who argued vegan and vegetarian alternatives to meat-based products were misleading consumers.
It means any future labelling on products of non-animal origin in the country will be excluded from using now legally reserved terms such as ‘meat’, ‘steak’, ‘bacon’ and ‘sausage’.
Producers who fail to comply could face fines of up to €300,000 (£260,000).
Mr Moreau tweeted: “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.”
✅🥩🧀Adoption de mon amendement pour mieux informer le #consommateur sur son alimentation!Il est important de lutter contre les fausses allégations:nos produits doivent être désignés correctement:les termes de #fromage ou de #steak seront réservés aux produits d’origine animale! pic.twitter.com/E8SQ61cjaT— Jean Baptiste Moreau (@moreaujb23)
✅\uD83E\uDD69\uD83E\uDDC0Adoption de mon amendement pour mieux informer le #consommateur sur son alimentation!Il est important de lutter contre les fausses allégations:nos produits doivent être désignés correctement:les termes de #fromage ou de #steak seront réservés aux produits d'origine animale! pic.twitter.com/E8SQ61cjaT— Jean Baptiste Moreau (@moreaujb23) April 19, 2018
Laura Ryan, AHDB sector strategy director for beef and lamb, said she was interested to see other countries taking steps to protect the integrity of meat products almost a year after the EU Court of Justice banned products of a purely plant-based substance using milk, cream, butter, cheese or yoghurt as a marketing tool.
She said the issue of labelling was ‘very much front of mind’.
“Labelling alternative proteins using established meat product names seems misleading,” Ms Ryan said.
“If people choose to adopt a diet using alternatives they are entitled to do so, but there should be absolute clarity around the composition of the products being consumed.
“It is disingenuous to market alternatives or substitutes as the genuine products understood and enjoyed by the vast majority of a population.”
NFU head of food and farming Philip Hambling also backed the move and hinted towards research which highlighted a want from shoppers for clear and simple labelling to help understand where their food had come from.
“Existing schemes such as Red Tractor provide assurances that British food is of high production and welfare standards, and can be traced back to British farms,” he said.
“The NFU has long called for clear labelling and for clarity in labelling for products marketed as meat and dairy alternatives to ensure the public are not confused or misled.”
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