Politics & Law

Italy Becomes Next Country to Propose “Misleading and Backwards” Restrictions on Plant-Based Meat Labels 

The Italian government becomes the next in a growing list of those proposing restricted labelling on plant-based meat from using “meaty” terms, in a move ProVeg describes as “misleading and backwards.”

The bill notes that its efforts represent an attempt to protect livestock production in the country, even though animal agriculture is responsible for about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, explains ProVeg.

“This bill […] is taking a step backwards in the fight to tackle climate change. We urge the Italian government to reject it accordingly”

“Plant-based foods emit half the amount of greenhouse gases as animal-based foods, so we need to introduce policies that actively encourage people to switch to more flexitarian diets,” urges Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg International.

two woman reading a product label
© ProVeg International

Nutritional concerns

Furthermore, the bill argues that if plant-based meat brands use traditional meat terms on their labels, consumers could be confused about their nutritional value when compared to meat.

“This argument is misleading, partly because plant-based alternatives are nutritious and have less cholesterol than conventional meat products, but also because they have a number of other advantages over conventional meat products,” de Boo notes.

Plant-based meat alternatives can be healthier than regular meat because they offer complex carbohydrates and healthy fibre. Additionally, they are free from cholesterol, antibiotic residues, hormones, heavy metals, pathogenic bacteria, and viruses, arguesProVeg.

© Smart Protein Project

“The ideal plant-based diet is one rich in grains, legumes, nuts, and vegetables, with plant-based alternatives to meat dishes adding taste, health, and sustainability benefits. This approach makes a plant-based diet simply unbeatable!” the food awareness organisation adds.

Italy joins list of countries taking step backwards

Plant-based food labels have been at the centre of a heated debate in Europe, with France, Switzerland, and South Africa trying to remove meat-like terms from labels. ProVeg International has criticised before plant-based labelling restrictions, describing them as “draconian.”

In Italy, the suggested introduction of the bill comes after regulators and the animal agriculture industry in other countries have attempted to control how plant-based meat and dairy are labelled, argues ProVeg.

“Italian consumers are introducing more plant-based foods in their diets, many of them for environmental reasons. This proposal is an attempt to slow the growth of this market and derail the EU plans for a sustainable food system,” said Claudio Pomo, head of development at Italian organisation Essere Animali.

“This bill, which seeks to restrict labelling of plant-based meat alternatives, is taking a step backwards in the fight to tackle climate change. We urge the Italian government to reject it accordingly,” concludes de Boo.



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