Plant-based burgers might soon be called “veggie discs” under a new proposed European Union (EU) law regarding food labeling in order to avoid misleading consumers.
The EU Parliament’s Agriculture Committee approved a ban on including the term “meat” in vegan and vegetarian products in order to protect “meat” terms traditionally used in animal-derived meat products and avoid misleading consumers.
Aside from plant-based burgers, other products such as plant-based sausages, tofu steaks, and other vegan and vegetarian “meat” will also be affected.
French socialist MEP Éric Andrieu, who was responsible for overseeing the legislation, said that the new law is just “common sense.”
“The meat lobby is not involved in this,” he added. “It has generated a considerable debate among the political groups and a large majority wanted to clarify things. Particularly in the light of history, the history we share, you can have a steak or burger, you can’t call it something else.”
“We felt that steak should be kept for real steak with meat and come up with a new moniker for all these new products. There is a lot to be done in this front, a lot of creativity will be needed.”
“People need to know what they are eating. So people who want to eat less meat know what they are eating – people know what is on their plate.”
However, others believe that the proposed ban on plant-based food using “meat” is absurd.
“This ridiculous proposal shows the lengths the EU parliament’s agriculture committee will go to to promote factory farming of meat and dairy, whether at the expense of the environment, rural communities or, in this case, plain common sense,” said Greenpeace EU Agriculture Policy Director Marco Contiero.
“This is nothing more than a cynical attempt to undermine an emerging market in meat and dairy alternatives which greatly benefits farmers, consumers, and the planet.”
Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, who also doubts the motivation behind the ban, added: “The suspicion is that this has come from the meat industry out of panic at the fact that young people are moving away from eating meat.”
“It wasn’t as if people were buying veggie burgers and asking: ‘Where’s my meat?’ People are moving increasingly towards a plant-based diet, and young people at a terrific speed,” she concluded.