Translate

Tupac Amaru Shakur, " I'm Loosing It...We MUST Unite!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

French war on ‘veggie burgers’ comes to Brussels


A new French law that says only meat products can use terms like “sausage” or “burger” is reheating debate in Brussels over what to call vegetarian meals.

Proponents of last month's law argue it’s needed to avoid misleading customers about what they’re eating. But vegetarians argue it will actually do more to confuse consumers at a time when Brussels is trying to encourage more plant-based meat alternatives, and could even violate EU single market rules.

The European Commission is expected to respond this week to a complaint filed by the lobby group European Vegetarian Union against the French law, which says the legislation “creates an obstacle to intra-community trade by obliging traders to change their labels in order to meet the requirements of the French market.”

"To put it simply, if there are German producers, for example, who want to sell their vegetarian steaks in France, they won’t be allowed because they are called steak,” said Sarah Champagne, a policy officer at the French Vegetarian Association. Champagne added that “this raises a problem of equal treatment between member states on the European market.”

The French rule banning terms like “veggie burgers” was pushed by MP Barbara Bessot Ballot from President Emmanuel Macron's La République En Marche party as part of broader legislation on transparency and what information food products should disclose to buyers, such as the country of origin for honey and all meat products.

The law came with heavy backing from the meat industry, which has long campaigned against such vegetarian product names in a bid to preserve a sector facing challenges of declining incomes for farmers, falling meat consumption and increasing demands that agriculture take a more ecological approach.

In its recent Farm to Fork strategy, Brussels calls for Europeans to eat less red meat and promotes meat alternatives, citing health and environmental reasons.

A spokesperson for France’s meat industry federation Interbev said the French law “represents real progress in terms of transparency and information for consumers,” adding: “A product made from vegetal proteins shouldn’t be causing doubt in the minds of consumers by presenting itself as a product of animal origin, both in terms of its appearance and its nutritional properties … These products are simply not meat, whether in terms of their composition, their nutritional value or their taste.”

Members of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee are debating similar rules to restrict how veggie products are described as part of the EU’s revamped Common Agricultural Policy. The discussion is still ongoing and the shape of an amendment on the subject will be decided later this month, a spokesperson said.

“The new French law will definitely have an influence on what’s decided on the EU level,” one official close to the talks said.

The European Vegetarian Union also argues in its complaint that the French law and any other similar national legislation should “be put on hold” until EU law “provides for solutions applicable across the internal market.”

Brussels’ biggest food industry lobby group FoodDrinkEurope said it’s important that rules be harmonized across the bloc.

"I wouldn’t like to have a decision of the French parliament that is different than the German one and then different from Italian one," said Marco Settembri, the president of FoodDrinkEurope.

There is precedent for France's restrictions. In 2017, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled that terms such as "milk," "cheese" and "butter" should be reserved for animal products, forbidding popular almond milks and vegan butters from marketing themselves as such.

Even if Brussels does adopt restrictions for meat alternatives, vegetarian groups say that would create hurdles in the immediate term as foodmakers adapt to new packaging requirements, but they are still optimistic about the future of the market.

“Of course we are very clearly opposed to the law and we’ve had quite a lot of contact with producers and retailers who sell vegetarian products and who are a bit worried,” said Champagne from the French Vegetarian Association.

"But we are quite confident, and so are the producers, that this market will develop still,” she added.

Want more analysis from POLITICO? POLITICO Pro is our premium intelligence service for professionals. From financial services to trade, technology, cybersecurity and more, Pro delivers real time intelligence, deep insight and breaking scoops you need to keep one step ahead. Email pro@politico.eu to request a complimentary trial.



from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories https://ift.tt/327s9x1
via 400 Since 1619

Black Faith

  • Who are you? - Ever since I saw the first preview of the movie, Overcomer, I wanted to see it. I was ready. Pumped. The release month was etched in my mind. When the time...
    11 months ago

Black Business

Black Fitness

Black Fashion

Black Travel

Black Notes

Interesting Black Links

Pelosi prepping House to decide election if needed: report

The House speaker sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues and reminded them of the possibility, rare as it is. The Speaker of the Hous...