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France bans meat and dairy related words from vegetarian and vegan food packets

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 25/04/2018 Lucia Binding

a close up of a sandwich © Provided by Independent Print Limited French has banned "misleading" phrases containing meat and dairy-related words such as “sausage” and “milk" from vegetarian and vegan food packets.

The ban was proposed by National Assembly member Jean Baptiste Moreau who said it is “important to combat false claims”.

The amendment, approved last week, claimed that using words associated with animal products to describe meat and dairy substitutes was “misleading” French consumers.

Terms such as “vegetarian sausage", “meatless bacon", “cashew cheese” and “soy milk” are now off-limits.

Manufacturers who break the rule could be fined up to €300,000 (£263,000).

Mr Baptiste Moreau, who is a member of president Emmanuel Macron’s centrist La République En Marche party, shared details of the legislative accomplishment on Twitter.

He said: ​“Adoption of my amendment in order to better inform the #consumer about what they are eating! It is important to combat false claims. Our products must be designated correctly: the terms #cheese and #steak will be reserved for products of animal origin!”

One person replied on Twitter: "When is the word 'carcinogenic' or processed meats Mr . Le . MP who doesn't want to mislead consumers?"

Another added: "Instead of encouraging plant food (especially in children), France adopts a position of aggressive paranoia. But no matter how you name these products, it will not stop the growth of vegetable food (delicious, nutritious, sustainable and ethical)."

Mr Baptiste Moreau's argument was based on ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union passed this year that said soy and tofu products could not be marked as "milk" or "butter".

The measure is another attempt by French rule-makers to stop their language from evolving naturally.

Politicians and scholars at the Académie Française frequently try to combat changes that they believe harm the integrity of the French language.

The council is entrusted with protecting French from “Anglo-Saxon” attacks and writing an official dictionary. One of its tasks was to create French equivalents to unwanted English words – for example turning “email” into “courriel”.

Related: 20 vegan high-protein foods (provided by Espresso)

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