EU Food Labelling Proposal Could See “Plant-Based Burgers” Rebranded As “Veggie Discs”

Soon you may not refer to vegetarian and vegan products using terms such as “meat.” The Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament has approved a proposal regarding food nomenclature that bans the use of animal food terms to describe plant-based foods because it has been misleading.

New labeling of plant-based alternatives

The latest regulations band the use of terms like “sausage,” “burger,” “steak,” and “escalope” to describe the plant-based foods that do not have meat. Your “vegan burgers” will now be called “veggie discs.” The proposal received 80% backing, and the measures will be voted on in May after the European election before being implemented by EU and member states.

MEP Eric Andrieu who oversaw the legislation indicated that the new proposal is common sense. He added that meat lobbyists were not involved because this was an issue that has been debated widely among political groups with a majority preferring clarity of things. He said that in according to history you can only have a burger or steak and you can’t qualify it with something else.

Eric stated that that feeling was that animal products such as steak should remain as such with the new plant-based products given new names. He said that there is much to be done regarding the naming which will need so much creativity. He emphasized that people needed to be aware of what they are consuming so that those who prefer to eat less meat can know what they are consuming.

Meat lobbyists are pushing the proposal

However, according to some Members of the European Parliament feel that this proposal is an agenda pushed by meat lobbyists. It is a ridiculous one and aims at protecting their profits and thus crushing the growing vegetarian and veganism trend among the population. Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP, indicated that the proposal had ill motives especially if it is coming from the meat industry in response to the growing trend of vegan and vegetarian tendencies among young people.

Greenpeace Policy Director, Marco Contiero does not agree with the proposal, and he stated that it demonstrated the extent with which the agriculture committee can go in promoting factory farming of dairy and meat even at the expense of rural communities and the effect on the environment. He added that this is a cynical attempt that undermines the emerging vegan and vegetarian market that significantly benefits consumer and farmers while at the same time enhancing the sustainability of our planet.

Ban is an opportunity for creativity

The MEP of Gibraltar and South Wales indicated that this could open opportunities for creativity for producers as they move away from emulating meat products. She added that instead of having something that would taste like meat it could be nice if these cuisines were produced as vegetable products instead of being meat alternatives.

This is not the first time such proposal are evoking discussions. The European justice court in 2017 ruled that the plant products such as tofu and soya are not supposed to be sold as butter or milk. The court indicated that the dairy terms could only apply in the marketing of designated dairy and meat products.