Plant-based meat will be able to keep its name for a while longer.
A few weeks ago, the vegetable meat sector suffered a huge setback: in a decree adopted at the end of June by the government, the unions and animal exploitation lobbies had obtained a ban on the names “steak”, “bacon ” or even “sausages” for products of vegetable origin. The deadline was set for October 1, with a tolerated transition period until December 2023 to take into account the flow of stocks.
A decision of the Council of State rendered last Wednesday, July 27, however, contradicts the publication in the Official Journal. The request of the Proteins France association, which defends certain players in the plant sector such as Happyvore or La Vie, was finally validated by the administrative court. The decree, supposed to come into force on October 1, is therefore suspended until further notice.
Why this suspension?
According to the Council of State, it is the too rapid entry into force of the decree which poses a problem. The Protéines France association thus considers that the application deadline is far too short to allow the industry in the sector to take the necessary measures. A position contested by the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), which had disputed the urgency of the situation, arguing that the promulgation of a law on the subject in 2020 had otherwise left the necessary time to anticipate things.
Towards European uniformity?
This suspension is in fact nothing very surprising: in 2020, the European Parliament had already rejected the ban on designations relating to plant-based meat. Today, only dairy products benefit from regulations on the old continent. The suspension of the Council of State therefore realigns France with the rest of Europe, but also places the French plant sectors on an equal footing with European firms. Remember that as it stands, the decree obtained by the animal industry only concerns products made in France. The foreign brands sold in France could thus have kept the name of plant-based meat after October 1.
Still, this suspension may be a victory for the plant sectors, it is only temporary.