Back in April I shared a press release with you about the EU proposal to ban vegan and vegetarian food from being called such names as ‘burgers’ and sausages’. Well I’d hoped this ridiculousness had gone away and these very important people were spending their time on more important and pressing issues, but no. It’s still news and now it’s even going up for debate in Parliament. As if these people don’t have better things to debate about?!
I personally think it’s a load of nonsense. Veggie burgers have been called ‘burgers’ for years and years. According to Wikipedia the first veggie burger was launched in around 1980-1981 which means no one has had an issue with the term veggie burger for almost 40 years, until now. So what’s the issue? It can only be that the meat companies are feeling threatened and somehow think that by not being able to call a veggie burger a burger that all us vegans and vegetarians will suddenly eat meat again. As if.
As if it matters what it’s called. I really couldn’t care less and will still never eat meat!
For me the term burger more references the shape and that it’s a pattie of some sort whether it’s made from meat or plants. It doesn’t signal to me that it has to be made of meat.
I know there’s been a fuss about plant based milk being called milk which is also just as ridiculous. It got me thinking about peanut butter. I’ve not heard anyone complaining that peanut butter should not be called ‘butter’ because it’s not made from dairy.
The whole thing is insane and it’s a waste of taxpayers money giving any time to this sort of thing when there are bigger problems to deal with.
Below is today’s press release to update you on what’s still going on with this nonsense proposal.
The House of Lords will ask experts this Wednesday (19 June) whether the EU proposal to ban the use of words like ‘sausage’ and ‘burger’ to describe vegan and vegetarian products is in the interest of consumers.
The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee will hold a roundtable discussion with stakeholders including The Vegan Society to assess the impact of the proposals on consumers, the food industry and food retailers.
Earlier this year, the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development agreed to seek to restrict the use of ‘meaty’ denominations to apply only to products containing meat and not to meat alternatives.
Mark Banahan, Campaigns and Policy Officer at The Vegan Society who will give evidence on the issue, said: “This proposal has little to do with consumer protection and instead is motivated by economic concerns of the meat industry.
“Trying to ban widely-used, conventional phrases describing vegan products is anti-competitive and unfair, whilst there is no evidence that consumers find them confusing.
“As the data piles up showing that plant-based diets are better for people, animals and the planet, policy makers should be supporting vegan products, not trying to undermine them with ill-thought-out regulations.”
The committee will also hear from the Vegetarian Society’s Laura Sears, chef Jackie Kearney, Quorn Foods’ Geoff Bryant and Ruth Edge from the National Farmers’ Union.
Farmers across Europe have argued that using names that usually apply to meat-based products misleads consumers about the nature of the food they are buying.
Others argue that the proposal would make food packaging less clear for consumers and would have a disproportionate impact on vegans, public authorities and small businesses.
Lord Teverson, Chair of the Sub-Committee, said: “As more people move towards a plant-based diet, the question of how we identify and describe vegetarian and vegan food is increasingly relevant.
“In holding this roundtable discussion we are intending to test the merits of this proposal and find out what it would mean for consumers and for the food industry.”
The Vegan Society has warned that this proposal would result in “excessive administrative burdens” to all public entities and contravene the EU consumers’ right to be informed adequately as to how goods can be used under the EU law on clear labelling.
The charity said the proposed measures will not only impact vegans but also public authorities that currently serve vegan food, such as government departments, health providers, education establishments, police forces and prisons.
Public authorities are obliged to provide plant-based food to vegans in their care as veganism is a protected philosophical belief under the Equality Act 2010 and excessive amounts of time and money will have to be unnecessarily spent on revising menus if the proposals are accepted.
The evidence session will begin at 10:30am on Wednesday 19 June in Committee room 2 of the House of Lords and is open to public. You can watch it live on https://www.parliamentlive.tv/guide
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