The Vegan Society has launched a legal challenge to EU plans to ban the use of traditional names like burger and sausage for vegan and vegetarian foods, describing the measures as “irrational” and “motivated by economic concerns”.
Earlier this month, the European Parliament’s agriculture committee approved a ban on producers using nomenclature usually used for meat to describe meat alternative products. The proposals will now go to a full vote by MEPs following May’s European elections before being put to the European Council and Commission.
The Vegan Society argues that the proposals will have a negative financial impact on public sector bodies serving vegan food such as government departments, health providers, education establishments, police forces and prisons.
It said excessive amounts of time and money would have to be unnecessarily spent on revising menus in public sector institutions if the proposals are accepted.
The Vegan Society is also arguing that the proposed measures contravene the EU consumers’ right to be informed adequately as to how goods can be used and denies the vegan community the benefits offered by EU law on clear labelling.
It has challenged the plans in a formal letter to EU officials on the grounds of breaching fundamental human rights of vegans that are set out by the EU.
Proposals by MEPs to describe vegan equivalents of meat products like burgers and sausages as ‘discs’ or ‘tubes’ have been widely criticised by those advocating for more plant-based diets.
“These proposals have little to do with consumer protection and instead are motivated by economic concerns of the meat industry,” said George Gill, CEO at The Vegan Society. “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.”