The Vegan Society has warned in late April that the proposal to ban the use of traditional meat names like ‘burger’ and ‘sausage’ for vegan and veggie food products will result in “excessive administrative burdens” to all public entities after a European Parliament committee decided in early April that Vegetarian food producers must revise names if MEPs agree on new rules to protect meat terms.
The Brussels committee has decreed that names such as veggie burgers should be replaced by “veggie discs” and sausages by “tubes” among other products, following a vote in the European Parliament on revisions to a food-labeling regulation, to be voted on after May’s European Parliament elections.
The UK charity has highlighted the proposed measures will not only impact vegans, but also public authorities that currently serve vegan food, such as government departments, health providers, education establishments, police forces, and prisons.
It has legally challenged the plans in a formal letter to EU officials, signed by its CEO and prepared by a legal expert, on the grounds of breaching fundamental human rights of vegans that are set out by the Union.
The letter states 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 labeling.
George Gill, CEO at The Vegan Society who signed the letter, 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 14-page letter includes an appendix with over 100 examples of plant-based food descriptors being used in the public and private sectors, suggesting many institutions would be affected.
Public authorities are obliged to provide plant-based food to vegans in their care as veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010.
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 added.