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French Highest Administrative Court Suspends Ban on Plant-Based Meat Labels

In what's been described as a 'sensible' move, the Conseil d'Etat, France's highest court, has suspended the ban on the use of "meat" descriptors for plant-based meat labels.


French flag over plant-based meat products

Source: PFN Ai photo library


This suspension marks a significant victory for plant-based food advocates, including the industry group Protéines France, which argued against the ban's October implementation deadline.


Initially set to take effect in October, the ban would have prohibited the labeling of vegan products with terms commonly associated with meat, such as "bacon" and "steak," with "burger" being the sole exception. The decree aimed to avoid consumer confusion by restricting the use of "sector-specific" terminology traditionally associated with meat and fish for products that do not come from the animal world.


However, just weeks after its announcement, the Conseil d'Etat paused the motion, citing insufficient time for companies to adjust their branding and marketing strategies.


This decision came after Protéines France and other members of the country's plant-based and alternative protein sector argued that the short timeframe could confuse consumers and result in market share losses.


European plant-based brands like La Vie, Heura and The Vegetarian Butcher (see our earlier story) all sold in France have greeted the lifting of the ban, saying Ceci est sensé - 'this is sensible'.


Heura celebrates lifting of ‘meat names ‘ ban

Source: Heura


This suspension highlights ongoing debates around the world concerning plant-based food labeling. The French court's action reflects a broader international discussion on how to best support the sale and marketing of plant-based foods as part of the solution to tackling the climate crisis.


Critics of the ban, such as ProVeg International, have hailed the suspension as a step in the right direction, emphasising the need for regulations that promote rather than hinder the availability and marketing of plant-based options.


As the legalities and potential impacts of such bans continue to be scrutinised, the future of plant-based food labeling remains a hot topic in France and beyond, with implications for the global movement towards sustainable eating practices.


ENDS:

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