France Bans Meat Terms on Plant-Based Products

Feb. 27, 2024
The country’s meat industry claims terms like ‘vegan sausage’ are confusing for consumers.

The French government on Feb. 27 issued a decree that terms like “steak,” “ham,” “filet” and “burger” cannot be used on plant-based analogue products.

The ruling is a response to a long-standing complaint by the meat industry that terms like "vegetarian ham" or "vegan sausage" were confusing for consumers, according to newspaper Le Monde. It is based on a 2020 law whose application was temporarily suspended by the State Council in June 2022 after a complaint from Proteines France, a consortium of French companies selling plant-based food.

Producers have one year to sell their existing stock before any penalties are applied. Individuals breaking the labeling law can be fined up to €1,500 and companies €7,500 ($8,128).

The Le Monde story said products containing a small amount of plant-based content can continue to use meat names, such as merguez sausage, bacon or cordon bleu. Proteins France says the law is at odds with EU food rules. Animal rights groups also oppose the new labeling law.

European media reports said France has the highest per capita consumption of beef and veal in Europe and a relatively small vegan population. Yet, there is a growing contingent of flexitarians, nearly a quarter of the population, who are reducing their meat consumption.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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