Agricultural Amendment Kills Vegetarian False Food Naming

Agriculture Bill

France recently amended its agriculture bill to stop the practice of describing non-animal ingredients as if they were traditional animal products like "vegetable steak" or "soy sausage." The logic goes that consumers might be duped into thinking that they have purchased the type of meat alluded to in the packaging. Others refute such claims due to how different such foods appear and taste like in comparison to the proper food. As to why such legislation has come into existence, an analysis of food policy is in order.

The interest in meat alternatives has risen across the planet; market research indicates that the want will raise 8.4 percent from 2015 to 2020. The British market for this industry varies between £250m to £300m, accounting for 3 percent of the meat market. Furthermore, this meal option's popularity goes beyond vegetarians and vegans; the greatest demographic among interested consumers would be people looking to lower their meat intake. More and more consumers are becoming concerned with the ethical, health and sustainability concerns involved with livestock, raising interest in meat substitutes and understandably causing the meat industry to worry.

Some countries, in Europe and North America, have meat industries that understand the potential boon in meat substitutes. Some of the leading German manufacturers of meat-free products happen to also process meat, arguing that if anyone can create alternatives that have the same taste as meat, its them. One factor in these hybrid or transitional meat markets' operations is their existing relationship with retailers and large cash reserves; features unavailable to start-ups. Several North American meat manufacturers are funding meat-free companies as a way of maintaining income in the face of changing tastes.

Meat vendors in countries, like France or the UK, have been stymied in their adjustment, mostly due to worries of cannibalizing their business. When taking this fact into consideration, it seems obvious that a cattle farmer was the impetus for the amendment. Said amendment is built upon the precedent sent by a June 2017 ruling by the European Court of Justice. Said ruling prohibits the marketing of non-dairy products that use dairy terminology, such as "vegan cheese." This ruling was based on EU legislation in 2013 that classified milk as "the normal mammary secretion," indicating that items can only indicate they are dairy if they contain milk. Only milk derived from almonds or coconuts or peanut butter are exempt from this legislation.

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