Plant-based food companies in France will now face a $370,000 fine for using "meat," "sausage," "bacon," or any other term legislators have deemed is connected to meat marketing.
The French government agreed last week to pass a ban on using “meat-related” terms to describe plant-based products, adding the legislation as an amendment to its agriculture bill. The measure was introduced by Member of Parliament Jean-Baptiste Moreau (an animal farmer), who stated that consumers were confused by terminology traditionally used to describe meat when those terms appear on plant-based foods. The ban disallows the use of “steak,” “sausage,” “bacon,” and other terms the government deemed are related to marketing animal meat. The measure also bans the use of “dairy terms” in relation to plant-based products for the same reasons proposed by Moreau. Violators of the ban will be fined €300,000 ($370,00). Currently, plant-based companies in the United States are facing similar push-back from the meat and dairy industries. In 2016, a group of congressmen from dairy-producing states introduced the “Dairy Pride Act” to petition the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to exclude plant-based milk from the standard of identity for milk. This year, the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) lodged a similar claim with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), asking the governmental body to relegate the term “meat” to apply only to the byproducts of animal slaughter. Last week, a group of six plant-based and clean-meat companies collaboratively submitted a lengthy response to the USDA regarding USCA’s petition, explaining that the beef-lobby group has no standing in its request and is attempting to thwart competition from lucrative plant-based companies. Neither the FDA nor the USDA has acted on these petitions.