France will ban the use of meat names such as “steak” and “sausage” on plant-based foods from October, according to a new decree published yesterday. The ruling claims to avoid confusion for consumers, however, the law was heavily backed by the French meat industry and the country’s largest farming lobby.
France becomes the first country in the European Union to impose such restrictions on sustainable meat alternatives, which have surged in popularity around the globe. Commonly used product descriptions like “bacon” or “chicken” will now be banned for plant-based items, although the word “burger” would still be allowed as it apparently does not specifically refer to meat.
Strangely, the law will only apply to French producers for now and not imports, placing a stranglehold on France’s emerging plant-based economy. “You won’t see anything more delusional today”, stated Nicolas Schweitzer, CEO of plant-based bacon pioneer La Vie. “After pushing for the reindustrialization of France, the government has just passed a decree pushing us to relocate”, he added via a social media statement.
“Extended at European level”
In 2020, EU lawmakers rejected a similar proposal, but French farming, livestock, and meat industry lobbyists have been pushing hard for the implementation of such plant-based censorship laws. The country’s largest farm lobby FNSEA said it thought the decree did not go far enough, according to Reuters, while French meat industry association Interbev stated that the ruling: “Should be extended at European level.”
Climate science overwhelmingly states the need to drastically reduce meat and dairy consumption to have any chance of averting global climate catastrophe. Such brazen attacks on the alt protein industry must be resisted at all costs, for the sake of consumer rights, the food supply, and the future of the planet.