Cookies on Nutrition and Food Sciences

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Nutrition and Food Sciences

Nutrition and food science information across the food chain supporting academic and industrial research

>>> Sign up  to receive our Human Sciences e-newsletter, book alerts, and offers <<<

News Article

A win for veggie burgers.

European Parliament votes down amendement to reserve the word 'steak' and similar words for meat products.

The European Parliament has voted to allow labelling of meat alternatives with meat associated words like “veggie burgers” to continue in an amendment to the farm policy voted on last week.

EU consumers are buying more and more plant based foods and alternatives to meat and dairy products but their labelling can be problematic. The meat and dairy industries oppose what they see as appropriation of words which should be reserved for meat or dairy products by the producers of alternatives. They claim confusion will result, while vegetarian groups and consumer groups say there is no confusion. In the EU, France unilaterally banned meat related words in vegetarian foods in 2018. An EU court ruling in 2017 protected “butter”, “milk” and other names of dairy foods from use by plant food marketing companies.

The MEPs voted against Amendment 165 of the Common Agricultural Policy. This amendment attempted to extend protections on use of dairy food names to some meat food names. The amendment included provision for words such as “steak”, “sausage” and “burger” to be reserved exclusively for meat products and if passed it would have meant the terms “veggie burger” or “veggie sausage” or “cauliflower steak” would have been illegal to use on food packaging.

It was also reported that MEPs voted for amendment 171 that could further restrict use of dairy food names. The amendment disallows any indirect reference to dairy foods in plant-based food packaging. Terms like ‘yoghurt style’ and ‘cheese substitute’ would not be allowed.

The Vegan Society described the failure a of amendment 165 as a “victory for common sense” but was less pleased about continuing restrictions on use of dairy terms on plant based foods.

The European consumer group BEUC supported rejection of both amendments in a letter to the parliament in early October. It argued: “The use of culinary ‘meaty’ names on plant-based foods (such as ‘steak’, ‘sausage’, ‘burger’) makes it easier for consumers to know how to integrate these products within a meal, and as such should not be banned.”

Similarly, for milk products it says; “There is no point in making plant-based dairy alternatives less identifiable by and attractive to consumers, when we know they need to shift to a more plant-based diet.”


EU farming policy document of amendments:


European parliament news background note


Article details