BREAKING: EU Rejects Restrictions on ‘Meaty’ Terms BUT Signs Point to Huge Complications for Plant-Based Dairy

A majority of MEPs rejected all versions of the proposed labelling restrictions on terms like ‘burger’ and ‘steak’ for plant-based products today after thousands of oppositions. However, business may become more tricky for producers of plant-based dairy as it backs a clampdown on dairy related terminology and packaging styles.

A majority of MEPs rejected all versions of the proposed restrictions on ‘meaty’ terms for plant-based foods at a plenary vote this morning, after opposition from leading nonprofits, businesses and hundreds of thousands of consumers. 

However, the majority of the MEPs voted in favour of a ban on companies using terms like ‘cheese-style’ and ‘butter alternative’ to describe plant-based dairy products, under a proposal that could also prevent companies from using packaging styles such as butter blocks and milk cartons.

This decision is still subject to the Parliament voting in favour of the Common Agricultural Policy reforms in their entirety, with results announced at 5pm CET today. If carried, the plant-based dairy restrictions will be subject to negotiations with the Council of the EU and the European Commission.

The Good Food Institute Europe, a nonprofit working to accelerate plant-based and cultivated proteins, called on national leaders on the Council of the EU to “clear up this mess” and reject restrictions on plant-based dairy products. 

The Good Food Institute Europe’s policy manager Elena Walden said: “If this vote is confirmed later, the European Parliament has finally taken the ridiculous veggie burger ban off the table. This decision should bring an end to the imaginary crisis of consumer confusion over plant-based food. But it’s baffling that, at the same time, MEPs have tied the hands of the already-restricted plant-based dairy sector. 

“Terms like ‘milk’ and ‘cheese’ are already banned for products made from plants, but this vote could forbid helpful descriptors like ‘yoghurt-style’ and ‘butter alternative’ – further undermining the EU’s sustainability commitments.

“National leaders on the Council of the EU must clear up this mess and reject confusing and unnecessary restrictions on plant-based dairy products.” 

Vegconomist will update as soon as there is further news.

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