News just in….. The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee have raised concerns that an EU amendment to ban the use of words like ‘sausage’ and ‘burger’ to describe foods that don’t contain meat would in fact:
- Reduce consumer clarity
- Be a barrier to growth for a burgeoning sector of the food industry
- Ultimately make it more challenging for people to reduce the amount of meat in their diet at a time when Government should be seeking to encourage the opposite.
The Committee heard no evidence that consumers had felt they were misled by meat-free products and less than 4% of people had ever unintentionally bought a vegetarian product instead of a meat free version. Further, witnesses were unanimous in the view that current naming conventions around vegetarian burgers and sausages in particular are clear and easy to understand.
The Committee therefore challenge the stated justification of the amendment to “prohibit certain commercial practices that are misleading for consumers” and contest that without evidence of a problem, legislative action by the EU is unnecessary and would undermine EU policy objectives on climate change, the environment and public health.
The news has been reported on the Parliament website as; ” Veggie tubes proposal a misteak“….”
Read the full letter here.
- In early April, the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development agreed to seek to restrict the use of descriptions like “sausage”, “burger” and “steak” to apply only to products containing meat and not to vegetarian alternatives. The Committee held a round-table to discuss the proposal with a range of relevant stakeholders.
- The full text of the proposal is available on p78-9 here. The next step is for the proposal to be considered by the full European Parliament: this will not happen before autumn 2019. If the European Parliament agrees to the proposal, it will become part of its negotiating position in discussions regarding the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy.
- For further information on the inquiry and the Committee please see its webpage.
- You can also follow the work of all the House of Lords EU Committee and sub-committees on Twitter: @LordsEUCom
- The Committee is chaired by Lord Teverson.
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