EU veggie ‘burger’ ban challenged across Europe
The European Parliament’s proposal to ban the use of names such as ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’ from being used on vegetarian and vegan products is being challenged across Europe, with a petition to stop the ban now exceeding 100,000 signatures.
A final vote is expected to take place in the week commencing the 19th October. MEPs will vote on amendment 165 which seeks to restrict plant-based products from using names typically associated with meat products. If passed into law, this could see veggie burgers renamed as ‘veggie discs’ and veggie sausages as ‘veggie tubes.’
Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss the vote. He said: “We are increasingly concerned about the labelling of plant based products and the trend towards using terms that are synonymous with meat We get even more concerned when we see products on shelves labelled ‘’Meat free meat balls’’ and vegetarian ‘’Hoi Sin Duck.’
“Our main point would be that products are being presented as meat substitutes and people may well buy them on the assumption that they are giving the same nutritious benefits that they would get from eating meat.”
“Whilst reluctant to encourage yet more legislation we do think it is time this was looked at closely as it is misleading the consumer and playing tricks on them. Our main point would be that products are being presented as meat substitutes and people may well buy them on the assumption that they are giving the same nutritious benefits that they would get from eating meat.
“In truth these so-called meat substitutes are often, through intensive processing, creating something that just looks like meat.
“We would always advocate that it should be made very clear that they are vegetarian products. They should not imply that they are a substitute or replacement for the nutritional benefits you get from eating meat, unless they can prove that is the case.”
Jasmijn de Boo, vice president of ProVeg International which is leading the petition, said: “Plant-based meat alternatives have been on the market for at least a century in Europe – and for far longer in other parts of the world. They have long been marketed as veggie sausages and veggie burgers, and this has never been a problem.
“The use of the terms ‘burger’, ‘sausage’ and ‘cheese alternative’ on meat-free and dairy-free products serves an important function in communicating characteristics that consumers are looking for at point of purchase, especially in terms of taste and texture.”