Court suspends France vegan ‘meat’ ban deeming it ‘unjustified’

Author: Molly Pickering

Read Time:   |  28th July 2022

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The Conseil d’Etat suspended the ban on 'meat' names for vegan foods in France after expressing doubts about its legality


France’s highest court has overturned the recent controversial ban on plant-based meat terms put forward by the government at the start of July.

The ban, which was set to come into effect in October 2022, meant French producers could no longer use words such as ‘sausages’, ‘bacon’, and ‘steak’ to describe plant-based meat alternatives – with the expectation of ‘burger’.

Despite being the largest producer of beef in the EU and the 7th largest in the world, the ban was intended to ‘reduce confusion’ for shoppers.

The initial decree was heavily backed by the meat and farming industry, reading: “It will no longer be possible to use terms proper to sectors traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products not belonging to the animal world.”


Public backlash

Following the announcement, the ban was met with frustration and confusion from the public.

According to food awareness organisation ProVeg International, the French decree banning “meaty” names for plant-based foods would only serve to “encourage the animal agriculture industry at a time when the consumption of meat needs to be reduced.”

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International, said: “When those responsible for one-fifth of all GHGs globally are allowed by governments to increase their share of emissions, pollution, land, water and animal use, by actively making it harder for consumers to make informed and lower-carbon choices.

“We need to ask our politicians some tough questions. The fossil fuel industry needs to be reformed, and so does the meat, dairy, egg and seafood industries.”

Taking to social media, Nicolas Schweitzer, Co-Founder of French alt-meat brand La Vie, shared: “You won’t see anything more delusional today!

“After pushing for the reindustrialisation of France, the government has just passed a decree pushing us to relocate.”

Schweitzer argued that the government’s decision comes when we need to find sustainable meat alternatives to reduce our carbon footprint.


Court suspends vegan ‘meat’ ban

Just 3 weeks after the announcement of the decree, The French Conseil d’Etat – France’s highest court – suspended the ban.

According to ProVeg, the court has “expressed serious doubts about its legality and deems it unjustified in terms of proving consumer information.”

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Jasmijn de Boo shared: “We are delighted to hear that the French Conseil d’Etat has decided to suspend the decree prohibiting names for plant-based products.

“Plant-based foods are part of the solution to tackling the climate crisis and any regulation should actively support their sale and marketing not hamper it.”

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Feature image credit: Aamulya via Getty Images

Written by

Molly Pickering

Molly is the Digital Executive and former podcast host at Anthem's Vegan Food & Living, she also works across other titles including Women's Running and Classic Pop to create affiliate content for the website. Starting out as a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Vegan Food & Living in 2021, within 14 months Molly was shortlisted for ‘Best Editorial Assistant’ at the BSME Talent Awards 2022 and won the BCS Special Recognition award for Digital Marketing Apprentice of the Year in 2022

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