"Veggie" burgers are out in France

Veggie burgers

The language surrounding vegetarian and vegan foods in France will be getting a makeover. The Independent’s headline, “France bans the use of meat-like terms in packaging for vegetarian food” announced the changes. Reporter Jane Dalton reported on the ins and outs of the new law.

Vegetarian and vegan items like veggie burgers, sausages and minces, will have to be called something different. Manufacturers of these items can no longer describe their products using words, like sausages and burgers, which have historically described foods that have animal origins.

Members of the French Parliament voted for the change because of concerns that words like burgers, sausages, and steaks are dishonest when applied to vegetarian or vegan products. The change will also apply to items designed as dairy substitutes.

The change in law was spearheaded by MP Jean-Baptiste Moreau. He cited the European Court of Justice decision, in 2017, not to allow tofu and soya to be labeled as milk or butter, within the European Union.

Moreau, who belongs to the same political party as French President Emmanuel Macron, tweeted that the move was important because it fought against false claims and “our products must be designated correctly. The law has a direct impact on Moreau, who is a farmer.

Failure to comply with the new law could cost companies as much as 300,000 euros, but it could possibly mean money for the French meat industry, which has been impacted by the growing popularity of vegetarian eating.

The move may have had meat and dairy farmers and members of the meat and dairy industry cheering, but it has left animal advocates grumbling. Wendy Higgins of the Humane Society International labeled the move a “shame” and said France “has adopted a position of defensive paranoia”

Higgins anticipates the change will have little impact on the number of people opting to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

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