In August 2022, the High Court of France temporarily suspended the ban of the use of the word “meat” and similar on vegan food products, which was just enacted on 30th June, as it considers plant-based companies had not enough time to adapt to the change. This ruling is an interim order, so it is unclear how the courts and governments will adapt the labeling restrictions. It does not mean that the ban has been scrapped altogether, as has been reported by some media.
The suspended law bans all plant-based companies in France from using meat-related terms such as “bacon” and “steak”, but the courts determined that the ban failed to give plant-based companies appropriate time to comply with the new restrictions. The new limitations impacted exclusively French producers, forcing companies to relocate or compete with international brands free to brand with meat-related terms.
Protéines France, one of the plant-based companies that complained about the lack of time, said in a statement, “Many steps are necessary to change the name of a product, such as the development of new denominations and brand universe, carrying out consumer surveys and the filing of brands for protection, as well as the production of new packaging… By suspending the decree, the Conseil d’Etat recognizes the impossibility for operators to be able to comply with it on October 1, 2022. As a result, products containing vegetable proteins can continue to be marketed under the current names.”
ProVeg Vice President Jasmijn de Boo said, “We are delighted to hear that the French Conseil d’Etat has decided to suspend the decree prohibiting names for plant-based products… Plant-based foods are part of the solution to tackling the climate crisis and any regulation should actively support their sale and marketing, not hamper it.”