Misleading Veggie Burgers? Potential Ban on Words ‘Burger’, ‘Sausage’ and ‘Steak’ When Referring to Vegetarian Food


Vegetarian and vegan campaigners are opposing new proposed legislation by the European Parliament to ban the use of vegetarian products being described as sausages, burgers or steaks. Vegetarian campaigners have argued the terms veggie burger and sausage have been commonly used phrases for decades and would result in more confusion than the proposed decision would aim to rectify. The decision was inspired by the 2017 European Court of Justices’ decision to ban the words milk, butter and cream from the labelling of non-dairy products.

The proposed decision comes after the EU’s Agriculture Committee voted overwhelmingly to ban meat names from plant or lab grown food. This follows on from the same decision in France which passed last year. The proposal won’t become law in the EU until its approved by the European Commission and member states.

Under the new proposals, veggie burgers and sausages may be called veggie disks and veggie tubes.

The proposed changes have impacted other nations, with the UK now also considering the legislation. The House of Lords recently invited representatives from the National Farmers’ Union, the Vegan Society, Vegetarian Society, Quorn Foods and Masterchef finalist Jackie Kearney to discuss the potential impacts on the UK. Most representatives opposed the changes as they would create more confusion and discriminate against vegan and vegetarian options. A spokesperson for the Vegetarian Society stated the proposed changes would lead to more confusion, would create difficultly for businesses needing to change their marketing and could be counterproductive to the government’s environmental aims.

What does this tell us?

While Australia isn’t currently considering similar legislation, this does not mean it won’t happen in the future. The aim of the proposal is to minimise confusion and to make packaging as straight forward and clear as possible.

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