This week, 80 percent of the European Union (EU) Parliament’s Agriculture Committee voted in favor of new regulation banning certain language from being used by plant-based companies. The terms in question—particularly, “burger,” “hamburger,” “escalope,” “steak,” and sausage”—would no longer be allowed on products that do not contain animal flesh. “The meat lobby is not involved in this,” French socialist Member of European Parliament (MEP) Éric Andrieu told The Guardian. “It has generated considerable debate among the political groups and a large majority wanted to clarify things. Particularly in the light of history, the history we share, you can have a steak or burger, you can’t call it something else.” While several Members of European Parliament (MEP) are championing the proposed regulation as necessary to dispel alleged confusion around nomenclature traditionally used for meat being applied to plant-based products, Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato begs to differ. “The suspicion is that this has come from the meat industry out of panic at the fact that young people are moving away from eating meat,” Cato said. “It is a clear indication that they are worried about their market being undercut—and that’s quite a good sign. There certainly didn’t seem to be a lot of consumer demand for it. It wasn’t as if people were buying veggie burgers and asking, ‘Where’s my meat?’ People are moving increasingly towards a plant-based diet, and young people at a terrific speed.” Currently, proposed terminology for plant-based meat products includes “veggie discs,” “Quorn tubes,” “soya slices,” and “seitan slabs.” The full EU Parliament will vote on the proposed legislation after Europe’s elections in May, after which it will travel through individual member states before being presented to the European Commission.
Photo credit: Moving Mountains Foods