Green groups try to stop EU ban on terms like 'veggie burger'

Green groups think such a ban on plant-based products using terms like 'burgers' and 'sausages' would 'confuse consumers'
Green groups think such a ban on plant-based products using terms like 'burgers' and 'sausages' would 'confuse consumers'

Animal welfare and green groups are urging MEPs to reject proposals to ban plant-based foods from using terms like 'veggie burger' or 'vegan sausage roll'.

New Members of the EU's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) are looking at the proposals.

They seek to prevent the producers of plant-based foods from using terms typically associated with meat or dairy, thereby banning terms such as ‘veggie burger’, ‘yoghurt style’ or ‘cheese substitute’.

A House of Lords Sub-Committee has recently criticised such proposals. It raised concerns that such a move would in fact reduce consumer clarity.

It also found that it would be a barrier to growth for a 'burgeoning sector' of the food industry.

And now groups such as Compassion in World Farming, Eurogroup for Animals and the Vegan Society have raised concerns at the EU's proposals.

The organisations argue in a joint letter that consumers have been 'accustomed' to the use of such terms as ‘vegan sausage’ and ‘veggie burger’ to designate plant-based alternatives to meat.

They argue that banning the use of those terms would “result in confusing consumers and preventing them from making informed choices while purchasing products.”

The letter signatories also highlight that restricting the commercial speech of producers of plant-based products would be 'counterproductive in achieving a greener CAP'.

Finally, the letter points out that slowing down the development of plant-based alternatives would 'penalise consumers looking for more sustainable food'.

Alexandra Clark from Humane Society, said: “It is madness that MEPs are spending valuable time on trying to limit the growth of the plant-based market by banning terms such as ‘veggie burger’ when instead they should be dedicated to making agricultural policy more sustainable and climate friendly.”

Petitions against this proposal have gathered more than 80,000 signatures.

The EU isn't the first to offer such proposals. Last year, French MPs voted to ban vegan and vegetarian products from using terms enjoyed by their meat counterparts.