France has beef with vegan foods
By Canadian Packaging staffGeneral Coding & Labeling European Court of Justice meat labeling Vegan food labeling Vegetraian food labeling
Food brand owners in France are no longer able to describe non-meat products with meat terms.
In France, legislators have banned the use of “meat terms” to describe non-meat vegan and vegetarian products.
Now meat terms such as “burger” or “sausage” are banned from such products, as is “meat-free” and “bacon-like”—especially if the food product in question does not contain any meat, regardless if the sausage labeling is clear in its description.
That means it is now an expensive faux pas to have a product labeled as “meat-free soy hot dogs”. Yes, the description states that it is meat-free, but France believes that merely having the word “meat” contained within a product’s description is enough to confuse some consumers who actually want a meat product.
For those in the meat industry, the move is seen a huge step forward in reclaiming words it uses to describe its market segment.
Conversely, those in the vegan and vegetarian sector are calling France’s move a blatant position of defensive paranoia.
Failure to comply with the new food labeling rules in France could land brand owners a fine of up to ~ CDN $470,000.
However, there will be a fight on this: can the term “fillet” just be considered a meat term, when it refers to slices? Is a “sausage” a legitimate meat term when it is actually a manufactured item?
There is a precedent, of a sort, for this: In 2017, the European Court of Justice decreed that such terms as milk, butter and cheese could only be used on products that contained animal milk, within the European Union, implying products such as soy-based protein products are not allowed to describe themselves as “soy milk” et al.