October 20, 2020
European Union farmers urge ban on "veggie burgers" or "vegan sausage" terms
The European Union (EU) parliament will debate a proposed amendment to a farming bill that could ban the use of "veggie burgers" or "vegan sausage" of rmarketing products in restaurants and shops in the EU, Reuters reported.
The proposed amendments will also ban terms such as being "like" or in the "style" of milk, butter or cheese when describing non-dairy products.
Farmers argue that the ban will protect consumers from being misinformed. However, environmentalists, medical groups and companies that produce vegetarian products said the amendment if passed is a move backwards in fulfilling the EU's environmental and health goals.
The proposed amendments will be deliberated in a debate discussing wider agricultural reforms. The EU parliament cannot execute the changes on its own but assume a position in negotiations with EU member countries once a decision has been made.
One of the proposed amendments will fix terms such as as steak, sausage, escalope, burger, and hamburger only for meat items.
Three years ago, the terms "soy milk" and "vegan cheese" was banned by the European Court of Justice, which meant words such as milk, cream, butter, cheese, and yoghurt cannot be used to label non-dairy products. The new proposed amendment will also ban marketers of plant-based foods from using terms such as as "style", "type", "method" or "like".
Copa Cogeca, the European farmers association, said the EU should ban "surrealistic" descriptions of products, adding that permitting terms like "vegan burger" confuses consumers and affects farmers negatively.
On the other hand, plant-based food supporters such as Unilever, Ikea, and the European Medical Association have deemed the proposed amendments "disproportionate and out of step with the current climate".
Other groups have sought a lighter approach. One proposal supported by the Socialists would allow meat-free product terms that have been used for a long time to continue, as long as the product packaging shows clearly that the product contains no meat.