meat-related names for prohibited plant products

Manufacturers will no longer be able to use terms related to meat to designate plant products. A text awaited for several years by the animal sectors.

Products based on vegetable proteins will soon no longer be called “steak”, “bacon” or even “sausage”, according to a decree published in the Official Journal on Thursday, eagerly awaited and welcomed by the animal sectors.

“It will not be possible to use the terminology specific to the sectors traditionally associated with meat and fish to designate products that do not belong to the animal kingdom”, indicates the text.

The decree, which will come into force on October 1, 2022, however allows the marketing of “foodstuffs manufactured or labeled” before this date until December 31, 2023 at the latest.

The text had been awaited “for several years” and constitutes “an essential step in favor of the transparency of information for the consumer as well as the preservation of our products and know-how”, welcomed Jean-Fran├žois Guihard, president of Interbev, the interprofessional association for cattle and meat.

Only for products made in France

From the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA) to poultry professionals, all the major unions in the animal sectors welcome this text, but ask the government to “bring the file to Brussels in order to widen the scope of application to all products, regardless of their origin”, according to a joint press release.

The published decree specifies that products “legally manufactured or marketed in another Member State of the European Union or in Turkey, or legally manufactured in another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, are not subject to the requirements of this decree”.

Professionals in the pork sector consider that this decree is only a “first step in protecting the traditional names of meat-based recipes” in France and that it will be necessary “to extend this measure to European level”.

A “conservative” position

The pork interprofession also believes that the law must also “protect animal names from artificial synthetic foods”, i.e. so-called “laboratory” “meats”, obtained by the culture of animal cells, but also of microbial proteins. or fungal.

Conversely, the National Observatory of Plant Food (Onav) regrets that the decree “places France in a conservative position, against the current issues and European policy on these issues”.

Within the European Union, the designation of plant products by terms traditionally reserved for animal meat is authorized, with the exception of products made from animal milk. For example, it is not possible to use the word “yogurt” or “cheese” for a vegetable imitation.

The decree also specifies the maximum content of vegetable proteins authorized to keep the denominations, resulting from the code of uses of meat, for foodstuffs of animal origin but containing a part of vegetable proteins.

Thus, a minced meat steak can continue to be called steak provided that its vegetable protein content does not exceed 7%. A percentage that increases to 3% for frankfurter sausage, 1% for black pudding or dry sausage, and 0.5% for bacon or lardons.

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