If the measures are voted for by the full parliament, veggie sausages, tofu steaks and soya escalopes will also have to be rebranded to Quorn ‘tubes’, tofu ‘slabs’ and soya ‘slices’ in a move that some MEPs suspect bears the fingerprints of the meat industry.
George Gill, CEO at The Vegan Society, said: “As consumers are increasingly moving away from eating animals, the demand for vegan products is growing. There’s no denying that meat, dairy and egg industries are feeling threatened by this and desperately trying to restrict the marketing of vegan products.
“These proposals have little to do with consumer protection and instead are motivated by economic concerns of the meat industry. We are calling on EU officials to reject these irrational measures for vegan meat alternatives to be banned from using the qualified conventional terms everyone has been using for decades.”
The European food labelling laws state “food information should … enable consumers to identify and make appropriate use of food”. The use of ‘meaty’ names informs the consumer about how plant-based products can be cooked and used.
There is, however, a precedent. In 2017 the European court of justice ruled that plant-based products such as soya and tofu should not be sold as milk or butter. It said dairy terms could only be used while marketing designated animal products.