The Name Game

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France is drafting a law that would impose restrictions on naming plant-based meat alternatives, the first European country to do so, Sky News reported.

Under the draft legislation, the government will outlaw 21 names of meat from describing protein-based products, including “steak,” “spare ribs,” “ham” or “butcher.”

However, more than 120 meat-associated names – such as “cooked ham,” “bacon” and “burger” – can be used to describe meat alternatives as long as they do not exceed a certain amount of plant proteins.

The proposal comes after complaints from farmers and meat producers, who lamented that customers get confused by terms such as “vegan sausage” or “plant-based burgers.”

French Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau explained that the proposed bill “reflects our desire to put an end to misleading claims … by using names relating to meat products for foodstuffs that do not contain them.”

The bill will only impact products made in France.

France attempted to pass a similar law last year, but the country’s highest administrative court suspended the bill, finding it to be too vague and the period for implementing the new rules as too short.

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