Even the National Farmers’ Union says EU ‘veggie burger’ ban goes too far

The National Farmers’ Union has said that European Union proposals to ban the use of “burger” or “sausage” for meatless products goes too far.

The NFU were giving evidence to a debate in the House of Lords on the issue.

The Lords also heard from Quorn Foods, The Vegan Society and The Vegetarian Society.

Chief food chain adviser at the NFU Ruth Edge told the chamber:

“We welcome the ambition of the proposal trying to add clarity but we do feel, in places, it goes too far.
“An example of that would be the terms sausage or burger – for us, it's very much about the description on the label. So, for example, a beetroot burger or a Quorn sausage.
“When it comes to terms like steak and other proteins, we feel more strongly that it needs to be protected. We have seen products come to market such as chicken-style nuggets – that’s where our concern lies.
“We know this is a growth area with more than 38% of main meals now meat free.
“What we do want to see is clarity of terms particularly where retailers are moving towards putting these meat-free products in the meat aisles which is a real change from where they’ve had designated sections within supermarkets.”

Mark Banahan, campaigns and policy officer at the Vegan Society, said terms like “veggie burger” were commonplace and changing them now would lead to more confusion.

While Geoff Bryant, technical and engineering director of Quorn Foods, said they haven’t had a complaint about misleading consumers over the last three decades.

He said:

“We totally oppose the proposal, we think it’s absolutely unnecessary.
“In over 30 years of making meat-free products, we’ve not had a single person has complained to us that they’ve ben mislead.”

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