Bring me a plant-based burger

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POSTED: November 3, 2020

Various meat lobbies have fought for years to prevent the makers of what we nowadays called plant-based edibles from using common-sense words to define their products. Why to cause confusion. Their excuse? The very existence of the word “vegeburger” causes confusion.

CNN carried the following report from Reuters on October 24, and I finally saw it today.

Restaurants and shops in the European Union should be allowed to label products as “veggie burgers” or “vegan sausages,” the European Parliament said on Friday, while calling for tighter curbs on labelling of plant-based dairy substitutes.
EU lawmakers voted to reject proposals, backed by farmers, to ban plant-based products from using terms such as steak, sausage or burger.

“I’m going to celebrate with a vegan burger,” Swedish EU lawmaker Jytte Guteland said after the result was announced.
Farmers had argued that the using words like burger or sausage for non-meat products could mislead consumers. European farmers association Copa Cogeca said allowing such terms would open a “Pandora’s box” of confusing wording.

But medical groups, environmentalists and companies that make vegetarian products have said that banning these terms would discourage consumers from shifting to more plant-based diets, undermining the EU’s environmental and health goals.

A majority of EU lawmakers also voted on Friday for stricter rules on labelling of dairy substitutes, backing a ban on terms such as “milk-like” or “cheese-style” for plant-based products that contain no dairy ingredients.

The European Court of Justice already banned terms like “soy milk” and “vegan cheese” three years ago, ruling that words such as milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt cannot be used for non-dairy products.

In my view we should now all seek to overturn the ban on using “dairy-like” words to describe oat milk and soya milk. The only confusion they actually cause lies in the minds of profiteers who cannot understand why the playing field has suddenly tilted into a slightly more level position.