A French decree banning the use of ‘meaty’ names for vegan and vegetarian alternatives to animal products will sabotage efforts made by the plant-based industry to tackle the climate crisis, warns ProVeg International.

With this decision, France – Europe’s largest beef producer – will become the EU’s first country to apply such a ban to plant-based alternatives, with the exception of one word: burger.

In recent months South Africa and Turkey have made similar rulings, while Belgium and the United States are considering further regulations.

According to French authorities, from October ‘it will not be possible to use sector-specific terminology associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal world and which, in essence, are not comparable’.

While French meat industry association INTERBREV welcomes the ruling, calling it a ‘major step forward in terms of the transparency of information’, food awareness organization ProVeg International says it will ‘only serve to further encourage the animal agriculture industry at a time when the consumption of meat needs to be reduced’. The organization argues that banning terms such as plant-based ‘bacon’, ‘steak’ and ‘sausage’ promotes and protects animal-based diets.

“These regulations are counter-productive and based on misunderstandings,” Jasmijn de Boo, vice-president of ProVeg International comments.

“Plant-based foods are a vital key to solving the climate crisis as well as ensuring economic growth. Many meat and dairy companies themselves know this, which is why they are investing in both plant-based and animal-based foods, and in some cases switching to plant-based foods entirely.”

“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 industry,” adds de Boo.

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Having spent the early part of career putting her BA (Hons) in Media Writing to use as a freelancer writer across a number of industries – from wellbeing, food and travel to design and events – Rosie Greenaway’s post as editor of Natural Products News and Natural Beauty News began in 2017. In 2018 she co-launched NPN’s 30 under 30 initiative, is a regular presenter and speaker on industry panels, is a judge of several awards schemes in food and beauty (from the Soil Association’s BOOM Awards to the Who’s Who in Green Beauty Scandinavia) and acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Sustainable Beauty Coalition.