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French MPs ban ‘misleading’ vegetarian food products

Vegetarian sausages, vegan bacon, soya steaks and other vegetable-based meat substitutes will be no more in France after lawmakers agreed on Thursday to ban them for misleading consumers. 

Under the measure proposed by MP and farmer Jean-Baptiste Moreau, vegetarian food producers will no longer have the right to use "steak", "fillet", "bacon", "sausage" or any other meat reated term to describe products that are not partly or wholly composed of meat.

The regulation, which was tabled in the form of an amendment to an agriculture bill, will also apply to vegetarian or vegan products marketed as dairy alternatives.

Refusals to comply with the regulation will lead to fines of up to 300,000 euros ($370,000).

Mr Moreau has argued that current labelling cause confusion among consumers, who may believe they are eating pure, high-quality meat instead of a meat-and-soy combination, or a wholly vegetarian product.

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The vote in favour of a ban on meaty marketing comes less than a year after the European Court of Justice ruled that dairy-related terms, such as “milk”, “cream”, “chantilly” and “cheese”, are only allowed to be used on products made with real animal milk.

The debate is reminiscent of an online argument which went viral in Britain in 2016 after Sainsbury’s – much to the dismay of one Twitter user – launched their own range of vegan cheeses.

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