EU Parliament votes to keep ‘veggie burgers’ but bans ‘vegan cheese’

Read Time:   |  23rd October 2020

The European Parliament has rejected plans to ban companies from using terms like ‘burger’ and ‘steak’ for plant-based products but banned terms such as ‘cheese-style’ for dairy-free products

The European Parliament has voted against the ‘veggie burger ban‘ which would have seen plant-based food producers banned from using terms like ‘burger’ and ‘steak’ to describe their plant-based products.

If enacted, the ban would have seen veggie burgers renamed as the rather unappetising-sounding ‘veggie discs’ and meat-free sausages referred to as ‘veggie tubes’.

MEPs pushed the proposals to a vote in a bid to avoid any confusion among consumers when buying meat-free products.

However, although MEPs voted against the ban, a majority voted in favour of a ban on companies using terms like ‘cheese-style’ and ‘butter alternative’ to describe plant-based dairy products.

Under this new proposal, companies who produce dairy alternatives could be prevented from using traditional packaging styles such as butter blocks and milk cartons for their products.

Other terms such as ‘almond milk’ and ‘vegan cheese’, as well as ‘yogurt-style’ and ‘cheese alternative’ used for dairy-free products will also be banned.

‘Imaginary crisis of consumer confusion’

Non-profit organisation The Good Food Institute Europe, which works to accelerate plant-based and cultivated proteins, called on national leaders on the Council of the EU to “clear up this mess” and reject restrictions on plant-based dairy products.

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, The Good Food Institute Europe’s policy manager Elena Walden said: “If this vote is confirmed later, the European Parliament has finally taken the ridiculous veggie burger ban off the table. This decision should bring an end to the imaginary crisis of consumer confusion over plant-based food. But it’s baffling that, at the same time, MEPs have tied the hands of the already-restricted plant-based dairy sector.

“Terms like ‘milk’ and ‘cheese’ are already banned for products made from plants, but this vote could forbid helpful descriptors like ‘yoghurt-style’ and ‘butter alternative’ – further undermining the EU’s sustainability commitments.

“National leaders on the Council of the EU must clear up this mess and reject confusing and unnecessary restrictions on plant-based dairy products.”

Contradicting climate change commitments

Earlier this month, 13 leading environmental organisations wrote to MEPs stating that the proposed restrictions would contradict the EU’s climate change commitments.

In the letter, they said that the proposals were in breach of the EU’s European Green Deal, an eco-friendly initiative, which aims to achieve climate neutrality across Europe within the next 30 years as animal agriculture is responsible for 12-17% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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