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France bans the term ‘steak’ on vegetarian product labels

The French government issued a decree Tuesday banning the term “steak” on the label of vegetarian products, saying it was reserved for meat alone. 

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Other terms that can no longer be used for meat-free products include “escalope”, “ham”, “filet” and “prime rib”, according to the decree.

The ruling is a response to a long-standing complaint by the meat industry that terms like “vegetarian ham” or “vegan sausage” were confusing for consumers.

It is based on a 2020 law whose application was temporarily suspended by the State Council in June 2022 after a complaint from Proteines France, a consortium of French companies selling plant-based food.

According to the revised decree published Tuesday, some products containing a small amount of plant-based content can continue to use meaty names, such as merguez sausage, bacon or cordon bleu.

Producers elsewhere in the European Union can continue to sell vegetarian food with meat names in France.

Proteines France has been arguing that the French law is at odds with EU food rules.

Individuals breaking the labelling law can be fined up to 1,500 euros ($1,630), rising to 7,500 euros for companies.

But producers have one year to sell their existing stock before any penalties are applied, the decree said.


This story originally appeared on France24

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